Monday, 26 January 2015

REWIND: Aphrodite's Child - The Four Hoursemen

Today it was announced that Greek singer Demis Roussos had died aged 68. Roussos sold over 60 million records and was most famous for his solo hits during the 70s and 80s, but I know him best as a member of Aphrodite's Child. The psychedelic/progressive band released a double album in 1972 entitled '666', which featured this superb tune. This tune was clearly a heavy influence on The Verve, who echoed its melodies and chord progressions numerous times. Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft also ripped it off heavily for his 'Are You Ready' single from 2009. RIP Demis.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

REWIND: Elmore James and his Broomdusters - 'Dust My Blues'

Since RW/FF is all about the music I listen to, it's a good opportunity to feature and familiarise myself with new things that I have recently purchased. Yesterday (January 24) a visit to a second hand house clearance shop in town led me to a selection of CDs on sale for 75p each. As well as getting myself a copy of The Rolling Stones' 'Aftermath' and a compilation featuring the best of The Beach Boys' post-1960's output, I found a 2 CD collection of tracks favoured by the late great John Peel. Featuring everything from Lonnie Donegan to Orbital, 'John Peel: A Tribute' ends with the Elmore James number 'Dust My Blues', a wonderful example of blues guitar at its rawest. For this 1955 recording, Elmore James was backed by veteran New Orleans musicians, including bassist Frank Fields, drummer Earl Palmer, and pianist Edward Frank.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Track Of The Day: The Staves - 'Black And White'

The Staves are a group who I first spotted a couple of years ago on the telly, doing backing vocals for Tom Jones as he played an intimate gig at a London Church. Enchanted by the blend of these three wonderful voices, I had to investigate further. Which led me to their 2012 album 'Dead and Born and Grown'. 'If I Was' will be their second full-length studio album, and is released on March 23. From it (and featuring a rather good video) is their new single 'Black And White', which can be downloaded immediately when you pre-order the album on iTunes or at the group's webstore. The trio are made up of the Staveley-Taylor sisters, Emily, Jessica and Camilla. 

Friday, 23 January 2015

REWIND: Leftfield - 'Shallow Grave'

This week's traditional weekend banger is served... Although I was quite familiar with Leftfield previously, it wasn't until the year 2000 that I heard this track on Film Four's superb 2CD 'Essential Soundtracks' compilation, an album which introduced me to a wide variety of stuff, and expanded my sense of musical diversity. 'Shallow Grave' was a dark comedy crime film from 1994 that marked the cinematic directorial debut of Danny Boyle and provided early starring roles for the likes of Ewan McGregor and future Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston. Leftfield provided the movie's theme song, and their 'Release The Dubs' also appears on the soundtrack. The duo (now a solo project of Neil Barnes) were hugely influential in the evolution of electronic music during the 90s with Mixmag describing them as "the single most influential production team working in British dance music". They were also possibly the first act to be classed as "progressive house".

Thursday, 22 January 2015

REWIND: Sleeper - 'Inbetweener'

I usually do this on a Sunday, but have had to move it to a Thursday this week due to being very busy. Being hugely nostalgic about the 90s, and also being aware of how shit the singles charts are now, @ThisIsMyJam95 is a comforting blast from the past. Every week the Twitter page posts the Top 40 from 20 years ago and invites followers to pick their favourite new entry from that week. As well as evoking some wonderful memories, it's also an opportunity for me to hear songs that I was never aware of then, since I always have a listen to all of the choices.

While Rednex's 'Cotton Eye Joe' remained at the top of the chart for January 21, the number 38 entry was a reasonably respectable Snoop Dogg pastiche by rapper Paris entitled 'Guerilla Funk'. At number 31, Jim Carrey singing 'The Mask' theme tune 'Cuban Pete' is a good bit of fun, while that week's number 34 comes from Donna Allen. Unfortunately 'Real' is not on Spotify, and Sony have blocked it from YouTube so I can't tell you whether it's any good or not. Van Halen's poor 'Don't Tell Me' took the number 27 position, while TLC continued to peddle more of their dull RnB as 'Creep' went in at 22. At number 24, 'Saved' by Mr Roy was a simple dance remix of 'Soul Limbo' by Booker T And The MGs, better known as the theme tune to the cricket. Deuce were a lame pop act who entered the chart at 21 with 'Call It Love', while 'Hoochie Booty' by boyband Ultimate Kaos was equally horrific. The week's highest new entry came from the ever-mundane R.Kelly, whose 'Bump N Grind' still bumps and grinds my gears 20 years on. However, it's good to see Barry White going in at number 20 with the suitably smooth 'Practice What You Preach'.

At 37 was the re-release of New Order's excellent '1963', originally a B-side from 1987, this time remixed by Arthur Baker for a single release. At 26, Scarlet were a duo who scored a hit with 'Independent Love Song', which until a few minutes ago, I had not heard in years. Pop balladry at its very best. Massive Attack's sublime 'Protection' was the week's second highest new entry, at number 14. But I can only choose ONE song as my favourite, and Massive Attack would have won if it wasn't for the song at number 16... The bouncy excitement and carefree attitude of Britpop can be heard all over Sleeper's magnificent 'Inbetweener', which I'm definitely going to have to choose as my 'jam' of the week. The song was taken from their debut album 'Smart', while the video parodied the grocery store-set ITV game show Supermarket Sweep and featured the programme's presenter Dale Winton. Formed in 1993, the band had eight UK Top 40 hit singles and three UK Top 10 albums before splitting in 1998. Singer Louise Wener is now a successful novelist. 'Inbetweener' was featured on the brilliant 'True Brit' compilation that I purchased in summer '96, but the wonderful 'What Do I Do Now' was the first thing of theirs that I heard, thanks to it being included on one of the tapes that Smash Hits used to give away free with the magazine. Yes, I was STILL buying Smash Hits in 1996, but immediately ceased reading it in 1997 after they gave Radiohead's incredible 'Paranoid Android' a bad review, while their Single Of The Week was Hanson's 'MmmBop'.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Track Of The Day: Evil Blizzard / Teeth Of The Sea - Sacrifice (Teeth Of The Sea's offering mix)

Banging out a brutal mixture of krautrock and post-punk, the masked men that are Evil Blizzard make up one of the most unique groups to have emerged over the last few years. Teeth Of The Sea are also a fascinating outfit, whose brilliant third LP 'Master' was one of RW/FF's favourite albums of 2013. A combination of both was bound to produce something of excellence, and surely enough this TOTS remix of 'Sacrifice' is just that. It can be found on a split EP entitled 'Collisions 04', the latest in Rocket Recordings' 'Collisions' series. While one side of the 12" features the original version of 'Sacrifice' and this remix, the other contains four songs by Mamuthones. Vinyl copies of the EP have sold out, but it can still be purchased digitally on Bandcamp HERE.

In the words of the accompanying press release, this remix "beams the track through a prism of electronic horrorscore tension and adds chanted vocal mantas and demented ululations to suitably unsettling and portentous effect."

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

REWIND: Manic Street Preachers - No Surface All Feeling

Today (January 20) is the birthday of Manic Street Preachers bassist and lyricist Nicky Wire. To celebrate the Welsh rock n roll icon turning 45, today's Rewind selection is the closing track from the astonishing 1996 album 'Everything Must Go'. The album was the first to be released following the disappearance of Richey Edwards, and featured lyrics left behind by the missing lyrical genius. This track however was worded by Nicky, and provided a powerful and poignant climax to the seminal LP. The album reached number 2 in the UK charts and won a Brit Award for Best Album, with the band also winning Best Band that same year.

If anyone reading this has never experienced the brilliance of 'Everything Must Go', sort that out now.

Track Of The Day: Boxed In - All Your Love Has Gone (Michael Rother remix)

The word "legend" is often an overused one in many cases, however it is an entirely appropriate term to describe Michael Rother, one of the great pioneers of German music. Famed for his groundbreaking work with Neu! and Harmonia, Rother even served a short spell in Kraftwerk back in their early days, and now he lends his musical magic to a new generation with this magnificent remix of Boxed In's new single 'All Your Love Is Gone'. Boxed In is a hotly-tipped UK-based project led by Oli Bayston, and their self-titled debut album is out this week. The NME have hailed it as "an album that will enhance your life", while The Line Of Best Fit gave it a glowing review, stating that "Boxed In is an album that's hard to pin down, but it hits hard enough in places to get the party started and holds just enough back to make you want to return to it again and again."

This superb remix can be found on the flipside of the single release of 'All Your Love Is Gone', which comes out next week on January 27.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

REWIND: Kraftwerk - 'Computer World'

Today's 'Rewind' selection comes from the godfathers of techno Kraftwerk. 'Computer World' was the German pioneers' eighth studio album and was released in 1981. Since a mate from school recorded me a copy of this album onto blank tape in the late 90's, I have loved it and finally got myself a vinyl copy from the Prime Cuts record shop in Bristol. After many line-up changes and with Ralf Hütter as the only original member, Kraftwerk are still a fine live act but haven't released any new material since 2003's 'Tour De France Soundtracks' LP. Get a move on Ralf.

Track Of The Day: The Charlatans - 'Come Home Baby'

British indie legends The Charlatans have revealed the video to their new single 'Come Home Baby', the third song to be taken from their upcoming 'Modern Nature'. Go HERE to pre-order a limited edition 7" of this song. which comes out on February 2. 'Modern Nature' is their twelfth studio album and arrives on February 26.

Featuring eleven new tracks, the album was produced by The Charlatans and Jim Spencer and mixed by Craig Silvey (Arcade Fire, Portishead). The album features a cacophony of contributors from their three temporary drummers - Pete Salisbury of The VerveStephen Morris of New Order and Gabriel Gurnsey of DFA's avant-disco group Factory Floor, to Kate Bushs’ backing singers Melanie Marshall and Sandra Marvin, strings by Sean O’ Hagan and brass courtesy of Dexys’ Big Jim Paterson. Q have already described the album as “ one the finest of their career.”

The live shows in March will be The Charlatans’ first full UK tour since 2010. Pete Salisbury (The Verve) who plays on much of the album will be drumming on the dates. A list of dates can be found HERE.

Friday, 16 January 2015

REWIND: Usura - Open Your Mind

The traditional weekend banger on this occasion is a big club hit from the early 90s and one that I vividly remember hearing during my days as a kid. U.S.U.R.A. were an Italian dance act made up of Giacomo Maiolini, Walter Cremonini and Alessandro Gilardi, who scored a number 7 hit in the UK with this in 1992. I remember being rather weirded out when I used to see the trippy video which morphed the faces of Ronald Reagan, Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, Ian Paisley, Margaret Thatcher, Richard Nixon, Mary Whitehouse, and Joe McCarthy. Up until they disbanded in 1998, hey were quite successful in their native Italy, scoring another five Top 10 hits and two others which reached the Top 20. 'Sweat', the follow up to 'Open Your Mind' went to number 29 in the UK.

More of my musical memories from the early 90s can be read HERE.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Track Of The Day: Django Django - 'First Light'

Almost three years after releasing one of RW/FF's favourite albums of recent years, Scottish four-piece Django Django are back with a new single called 'First Light', the first to be taken from their upcoming second LP. Blending a wealth of influences together to create something intriguing, arty, exciting and accessible, the new song bodes well for the forthcoming album which is due in the Spring at some point. Looking forward to it very much indeed.

You can read a review of their superb self titled album from 2012 HERE, and you can read a review of their set from the NME Awards Tour in 2013 at the Bristol Academy HERE. Go HERE to see a selection of photos taken from that show.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Alternative Top 40 of 2014

The Alternative Top 40 is a regular music chart shared across multiple music blogs, and a great way of discovering music you might not have heard elsewhere. RW/FF is delighted to be among those blogs involved in sharing this list, which is created from nominations from you and compiled by the website Universal Horse.

To contribute to the next #AltTop40 all you have to do is suggest your favourite tracks of the moment to Universal Horse via their online form – or email them a top 5 at by Saturday 4th April.

Here’s this month’s edition (note that for its January edition Universal Horse only counts releases from the previous 12 months, making this a de facto 'tracks of the year' list):

1. Vessel - Red Sex

2. Eels - Where I'm Going

3. Wenonoah - Hide

4. Copeland (Ft. Actress) - Advice to Young Girls

5. Noura Mint Seymali - Tzenni

6. Boxcar Aldous Huxley - The Slow Decline of the London Necropolis Railway

Telegrams Elapsing by Boxcar Aldous Huxley

7. Rabit - Red Candles

8. Swans - She Loves Us

9. SJ Esau - Soul II Skull

10. Robert Plant - Little Maggie

11. Die Antwoord - Ugly Boy / +
12. The Brackish - Surf's Down / +13. Rachael Dadd - Strike Our Scythes / +
14. Bob Mould - I Don't Know You Any More / +
15. Perfume Genius - Queen / +
16. Alex Dingley - Knuckle Bone / +
17. New Cowboy Builders - Black Moses / +
18. Deerhoof - Exit Only / +
19. Gulp - Vast Space / +
20.  Yasmine Hamdane - Hal / +
21. The War on Drugs - Red Eyes / +
22. The Spitfires - I'm Holding On +
23. Marilyn Manson - Third Day of a Seven Day Binge / +
24. The Bug feat. Manga - Function / +
25. La Dispute - Extraordinary Dinner Party / +
26. Papernut Cambridge - Nutflake Social / +
27. tUnE-yArDs - Water Fountain / +
28. Paul Orwell - Tell Me, Tell Me / +
29. Tape Waves - Looking at the Sun / +
30. Grumbling Furs - All the Rays / +
31. Downard - Metal Office / +
32. Porcelain - My Friend Paranoia / +
33. Scott Walker and Sunn O))) - Herod 2014 / +
34. Xiu Xiu - Stupid in the Dark/ +
35. Psyence - Chemicals for Breakfast / +
36. Happyness - Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste the Same / +
37. Henry Blacker - Pullin Like a Dray / +
38. Adrienne Lenker and Buck Meek - A Better Time to Meet / +
39. The Van Allen Belt - Clouds/ +
40. The Spiritualized Mississippi Space Program - Always Forgetting with You / +

Follow the Alternative Top 40 on Facebook and Twitter.

This month's chart was shaped by music fans and
Record Rewind Play - DrunkenWerewolf - God Is In The TV - Neon Filler – RW/FF - 

Monday, 12 January 2015

Track Of The Day: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - 'Ballad Of The Mighty I'

Needless to say, I am very excited by the upcoming arrival of the second solo album from Noel Gallagher, and my excitement has just increased after hearing the brand new single 'Ballad Of The Mighty I'. The song also features Smiths legend Johnny Marr. "He just arrived with two guitars and a bag of effects pedals" says Noel, "And I have to say, he’s unbelievable. He’s way up there, on another level to the rest of us. The result is a burst of energy that helped make 'Ballad Of The Mighty I' one of the best songs I've ever written."

The track is released on February 23rd, a week before the album 'Chasing Yesterday' arrives. The LP was produced by Noel himself: “I didn’t like it to be honest" said Noel regarding producing solo for the first time, "I’d taken it to my producer, Dave Sardy, who has worked with me for the last 10 years and for whatever reasons he couldn’t do it… I enjoyed the freedom with it but I didn’t enjoy managing the sessions. The end product is great but it was a pain in the arse,” he said. Noel described the album's sound as “very eclectic... You could take a pair of tracks and play them together and think, ‘fucking hell, he’s gone insane, what’s he done there’ but then you could take another pair of tracks and think ‘well it sounds like a rock ‘n’ roll album’” said Gallagher. “I don’t think it’s one kind of thing or another. But I think it’s good though. Don’t think Spandau Ballet, think Pink Floyd.”

Sunday, 11 January 2015

REWIND: The Lightning Seeds - 'Change'

Time to rewind to 1995 for the weekly retrospective chart pick. Every Sunday, @ThisIsMyJam95 posts the Top 40 from 20 years ago and invites followers to pick their favourite new entry. This week's chart can be found HERE and features some brilliant stuff. But proving that even the golden years of popular music can throw up some bad stuff, that week's fresh offerings included generic R-Kelly-esque RnB from the Whitehead Bros, some lame dance-pop from the Tyrrel Corporation, Carleen Anderson's bland 'Let It Last', and a dreadful, pointless cover of 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart' by Nicki French. On the 'not good, not bad, not too bothered' list is Sounds Of Blackness's 'I'm Going All The Way', and in at number 9 were Guns N Roses with their take on 'Sympathy For The Devil', which I was aware of years before I even heard the original version. 

Much more agreeable were The Original's club hit 'I Luv U Baby', some rousing hard rock from The Almighty, a band who I've decided to familiarise myself with after enjoying 'Jonestown Mind'. Also impressing were 'Living In Danger' by Ace Of Base, one of my favourite pop groups ever and the third most successful Swedish act of all-time. N-Trance re-entered the chart with their classic 'Set You Free', which went in at #6. That song instantly evokes memories of running around in a large circle with lots of other kids during a school holidays activity club at a local sports centre. In at number 21 was Loveland featuring Rachel McFarlane's, with the soulful house gem 'I Need Somebody'. Then of course there was Portishead's magnificent 'Glory Box'. Such a hard choice between that and Ace Of Base, but I'm going to pick the week's number 23 entry, 'Change' by the Lightning Seeds, breezy carefree indie-pop at its best. This song was the second single to be released from their 1994 album 'Jollification'. Having not released anything new since 2009's 'Four Winds', I wonder if Ian Broudie will return with another album anytime soon?

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Track Of The Day: Public Service Broadcasting - 'Gagarin'

Using samples and clips from old public information films, the duo Public Service Broadcasting are releasing their second album in February. Following on from their 2013 debut 'Inform - Educate - Entertain', the LP will "tell the story of the American and Soviet space race from 1957 to 1972" and is preceded by their new single 'Gargarin'. The track is inspired by Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, and is described as "A brassy, funk-heavy superhero theme song for the most famous man in the world at the time."

The vinyl version of the album comes with a reversible sleeve featuring a USA Sleeve on one side and a USSR on the other.

REWIND: Paul Weller - 'Brushed'

Paul Weller has announced the release of his 12th solo album, which will be called 'Saturn’s Pattern'. Described as “defiantly 21st century” amd "modern psychedelic music", it's his first LP since 2012’s 'Sonik Kicks'. Weller has also said that the album is “certainly progressive in the literal sense of the word”. No precise release date has been confirmed yet, but 'Saturn's Pattern' is expected in the Spring. Until then here's a very underrated single from 1997, which is in fact the first Weller CD I ever bought. Taken from his 1997 album 'Heavy Soul', the superb 'Brushed' reached number 14 in the charts. 'Heavy Soul' would have been a number 1 album had it not been for a technicality involving five photos from the CD booklet being reproduced as postcards in the Special Edition release, which meant that sales of the Special Edition did not count towards the album's sales as the postcards were classed as free gifts. Not fair.

For a regularly updated list of upcoming album releases, go HERE.

Friday, 9 January 2015

REWIND: SL2 - 'On A Ragga Tip'

It's the weekend, and the arrival of the weekend means that it's time for another Friday Banger. Out of the four singles British rave act SL2 released, this was undoubtedly the most popular. They formed as a duo of Matt "Slipmatt" Nelson and John "Lime" Fernandez, their name caming from the founders initials - Slipmatt (S) and Lime (L), and as their status as a duo - hence "SL2". After scoring a number 11 chart hit with an XL Recordings re-release of 'DJ's Take Control' which became a number 11 hit in the UK charts, 'On A Ragga Tip' was released in 1992 and peaked at number two. After another single 'Way In My Brain', disagreements within the group saw SL2 split up by the end of 1993. After a remix of their biggest hit On A Ragga Tip re-entered the charts in 1997, Slipmatt and Lime reunited. Although no new material has ever been released, they continue to DJ on a semi-regular basis.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

REWIND: David Bowie - 'Five Years'

Today (January 8) is the birthday of one of my musical heroes, the great David Bowie. Although I'm still to be convinced by the pair of new tracks he released last year as part of yet another Best Of collection, I still rate his 2013 comeback LP 'The Next Day' as a fine piece of work. You can read my review of that album HERE

You can also read an article I wrote around that same time, entitled 'What Bowie Means To Me' HERE. Today I'm going to feature the opening track from one of the albums that had the biggest impact on me during my youth, despite it being released over two decades earlier. 'Five Years' is the stunning opener from 'The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars', Bowie's fifth studio album, which despite being one of the most iconic records of all-time, peaked no higher than No. 5 in the UK charts.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

REWIND: Teenage Fanclub - 'Start Again'

Judging by the list of upcoming and possible album releases for 2015, the next 12 months are going to bring us some wonderful sounds. A regularly updated list can be found HERE. Scottish indie legends Teenage Fanclub are one band who are due to release a new LP this year. Frontman Norman Blake told The Daily Record last year: “We keep in touch even though I’m in Canada. Because of the internet it’s easy. We met last year and went to a place called Vega studio in the South of France. They have got a beautiful EMI desk that The Beatles used. There are only three in the world. So we went down there ate a lot of cheese and drank wine and did some recording... The album will be out in March in time for festival shows.”

Until then here's a lovely track from their 1997 classic 'Songs From Northern Britain', which is still my favourite album by the band. Possibly because it's the first one I heard. I remember 'Start Again' also being the first Teenage Fanclub song I ever knew of. The song reached number 54 when it was released as a single, and is also the opening track from the album. 'Songs From Northern Britain' reached number 3 in the UK albums chart, their highest entry to date.