Saturday, 29 December 2012

Favourite Albums of 2012 Compilation.

Well I guess it's that time of year when the web succumbs to list mania again, when we all 'fess up' about the stuff we've been  listening too and raving about all year. I may as well add my 2p worth, and whilst it is by no means complete list of aural 'diggage', the accompanying MP3 compilation gives you a rough idea what's been rocking  my world for much of the  last year.

Of course, after compiling a shortish 20 song tracklist I realised there were quite a few notable records I'd forgot to include, so there ay yet be a part two, but for now, I hope you enjoy my little Soundtrack annual.

Track list goes a something like this... (The video's below don't necessarily represent tracks on the compilation')

1. The Pre New - I Believe In Jackie (From the CD 'Music For People Who Hate Themselves')

Rising from the ashes of Earl Brutus and World of Twist, The Pre New glitter stomped their way into my heart with a wonderful album encompassing influences as diverse as D.A.F.and Ivor Cutler through to Italian disco and Punk and all points in between. Lyrics laced with a dark and frankly ridiculous reference points from popular culture to pop art. Deserved to be huge, but sadly seem to have been universally overlooked.

2. G R - Bradenhend (From the vinyl  LP 'A Reverse Age')

Great in your face album in a similar vein to many early to mid 80's Blast First noise acts like Big Black, Sonic Youth, Big Stick etc... Sadly only got a limited vinyl release. This one really floated my boat.

3. Pop.1280 - Bodies In The Dunes (From the Sacred Bones LP 'The Horror')

Another great ensemble taking their grimey cues from the darkest recesses of post punk, Pop.1280 ( their named after a Hunter S Thompson novel) mesh dark garage guitar with stark electronics,  deep bass and pounding drums to brew up a heady stew of claustrophobia and paranoia fresh to your own front door. Can't wait for the next record, I'm sure its gonna be a keeper. Much of this album has similar dynamics and sound the last album 'The Human Jukebox' by Antipodean wonders The Scientists which trust me, is a GOOD THING.

4. The KVB - Until I'm Cold (From the digital only release 'Always Then')

 This duo take all the best bits of 70's/80's post punk (Joy Division, Mary Chain, Cure et al) along with the odd dose of Suicide and Spacemen 3 to boot and mold it all into something new and fresh. This album seems to only be available as a digital download, here's hoping it gets a 'proper' release in the not to distnt future.

5. Woven Hand - Closer (Taken from the album 'The Laughing Stalk')

Great album by one time singer with 16 Horsepower. All the usual themes are on show, religion, redemption and Old Nick, but fleshed out with a meatier sound than the early Woven Hand releases.

6. Tarwater - Radio War (Taken from the album 'Inside The Ships')

I've been a fan of Tarwater since the LP 'Animals, Suns and Atoms' from the mid  90's. and have closely followed there on/off career ever since. Can't say the new album holds any surprises sonically. Lush soundscapes, mid tempo beats and hushed vocals is the order of the day with a nice mix of acoustic and electronic instrumentation. Plus there's is a great cover of the D.A.F song 'Sato Sato' which is appreciably different enough to the original to be interesting but similar enough that you recognise what song it is.

7. Clinic - Seesaw (Taken from the LP 'Free Reign')

Rockier album than were used to from Clinic. All the usual ingredients are there, melodion, organ, guitar and drums, and dare I say a less melancholic air than those early albums, but everything I love about them is still intact.

8. Peaking Lights - Cosmic Tides (Taken form the album 'Lucifer')

This is a great step forward from last years '936', The band seem more self assured and aredefinately channeling King Tubby in there somewhere.Hell they even released an 'In Dub' version of Lucifer too which is ever bit as essential. Would luuurve to catch these babies live, bet they'd be a blast.

9. Death Grips - System Blower (Taken from the CD 'The Money Store')

Lets get it straight, Hip Hop ain't my thing, but something about Death Grips really got under my skin. Could be that they operate as a real band, guitar, keyboards, drums etc, and have an appreciably harder sound more akin to punk than the usual MTV kak were used to being served up. Can't say the subject matter strays much form the rap mores were used too, but those abrasive sounds are really what caught my attention.

10. METZ - Negative Space (Taken from the the LP 'Metz')

This is a fantastic slice of raucous guitar and drums, fueled by teen angst and vinegar and piss.

11. VCMG - Spock (Taken from the Mute LP 'Ssss')

I have been a massive electronic music fan for most of my life. Something about the tones, frequencies and textures synthesizers evoke has always really interested me musically, and for many years after the 80's I guess it was dance music that did it for me. At the time (late 80's early 90's) it seemed to be pushing new and interesting boundaries, but slowly over time it got samey and repetitive and I lost interest. It seemed to stagnate with four to the floor beats and ridiculous wailing divas, not those pure and interesting noises it started out with. But, something about VCMG got under my skin. I wasn't too bothered on first hearing the album Ssss. Nothing new is really brought to the table in terms of pushing boundaries, but the combination of rich and pure analogue tones really does it for me. If  I'm honest, it's basically Vince Clarke and Martin Gore ripping off mid period Nitzer Ebb, but in a goood way.

12. Cate Le Bon - Greta (From the LP 'CYRK')

Cyrk is a great quirky album, full of fragile voices and deranged fuzz excess, not quite up there with the debut album 'Me Oh My', but interesting enough that it had me coming back for more. Cate is basically channeling Trish Keenan on 'Greta', and I could have done without the drastic trumpet parping at the end, but it's still has something about it that makes me put the needle back to the beginning of the track every time.

13. Julian Cope - As The Beer Flows Over Me (From the double CD 'Psychedelic Revolution')

Copes best album in a good while (tough still not as good as Christophe F's 'Heathen Frontiers In Sound'). If I'm honest, I couldn't stand this album when I first got hold of it. I thought it a little twee and light weigt, but coming home from a particularly arduous hike, it turned up on the walkman and seems to be just the right thing for the drive home. There are some great catchy sing alongs on here, not something I ever thought I'd associate with Cope, but his melodic strengths really shine through on this album. Some of the lyrical sentiments are a little embarrassing to say the least, real 6th form bedroom rantings, but you know his heart is in the right place. I just wish he'd stop the 2 CD thang though, the album is barely 80 minutes long. For professed 'eco' warrior, he's bloody wasteful.

14. P.I.L. - The Room I Am In (Taken from the album 'This Is')

I was pleasantly surprised how good the latest offering fro P.I.L. is. Seems to meld the best of the later stuff, with some of the nouce of those seminal early records. High points for me were the tracks 'One Drop', Lollipop Opera' and the Magazine like ambiance of' The Room I Am In' (Which owes ore than a nod and a wink to Magazine track 'The Book')

15. Rites Wild - Thieves (Taken from the Not Not Fun release 'Ways Of Being')

If I'm honest,  I don't know a whole lot about the artist behind the tour de force that is Rites Wild. I've read that the LP is basically three super limited cassette releases and a few new tracks bundled together to make an LP. Channeling the same sonic reverberations as 'Stella On Source', Rites Wild is a delicious mix of reverb, delay and strung out drones, held together with gossamer beats,micro melodies and a hushed/buried vocal. 

16. Peaking Lights - Cosmic Dub (Taken from the rather wonderful 'Lucifer In Dub' LP)

17. Moon Duo - Seer [Psychic Ills Remix] ( Taken from the limited Moon Duo - Mazes Remixed LP)

Seems to be a bit of a thing about 'remix' albums this year. Luckily most seem to be worth a listen. There are some drastically different (in a good way) versions on the 'Mazes Remixed' album. Well worth picking up.

18. Eternal Tapestry - Alone Against Tomorrow - (Taken from the Thrill Jockey LP 'A World Out of Time')

Don't know a whole lot about Eternal Tapestry other than they make a righteous guitar driven psych rock, and remind me of the seminal and sublime Michael Yonkers Band. Looking  forward to more from these guys in the coming year

19. Mugstar - Axis Modulator - (From the LP 'Axis')

Mugstar make space rock into an art form. Gota say Axis is my fav' so far.

20. The Horrors - I Can See Through You [Blank Mass Remix] (From the forthcoming box set 'Higher')

Another remix album (this one is available for download from the Horrors website) prior to the release of a 4 12"/CD/DVD box set due out next year.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Broadcast - Berberian Sound Studio OST

 Am very excited about Warp's forthcoming release of the soundtrack to Berberian Sound Studio. This was the last recording made by one of my favourite bands Broadcast before the sad and untimely death of singer Trish Keenan. Out on Warp on 7th Jan 2013, you can pre-order vinyl and CD here. DVD/ Blueray released December 2012.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Julian Cope / Black Sheep Radio Shows.

In light of his recent 'Tue'sday Night, Wodensday' Morning web broadcast, here it is in case you didn't hear it and would like to. Packed full of the best in out there tunes, it's a pretty enjoyable few hours.
I've included an earlier show here too. Had to split it into four files as there are quite a few hours of radio here.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Playlist for the last TNWM radio show ...

1st Hour.
Mountain Of Skulls Blues .... Working Man Moise Unit
Lowborn .... GR
Ganoderma Lucidum .... Botanist
Nazi Popes Fuck Off .... Black Sheep
Ode To The Bad People .... Speed Glue & Shinki
Grave Chyld .... Morbid Wizard
Easy .... Trumpets Of Jericho
Linda .... Sleepers
Yaca .... Aedi
Hermit .... Anthroprophh
Before Your Eyes .... Transmontane
Midnight Sky .... Can
Not Bite .... Red Resistor

2nd Hour.
Joey Ramone Is Dead .... Swastika Girls
Rock 'n' Roll .... Detroit
Sweat It Out .... Working Man Noise Unit
Lost on The Ocean .... Tractor
Stoned Out Of My Mind .... Speed Glue & Shinki
Quoth Azalea .... Botanist
Shubunkin .... Tractor
Pulsaang .... Trumpets Of Jericho
Wail Of Summer .... Fields Of The Nephilim

3rd Hour.
Graublau .... Can
Kinnel Tommy .... Ed Banger
Molecules .... Transmontane
Keep It Cool .... Speed Glue & Shinki
Sleepwalker .... Working Man Noise Unit
Field Of Hours .... Obsessed
The Presence .... Crispy Ambulance
Mr. Walking Drugstore Man .... Speed Glue & Shinki

4th Hour.
Side One, Track One .... Itsutsu no Akai Fusen
Ende .... Anthroprophh
Six Days .... Sujo
Little Girl In Yellow ....Tractor
Not I .... Lucifer N.Y.C.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Go One Way, Return Another plus Soundtrack

The above is something I always strive for in a hike. Generally with driving to a place the walk is inevitably circular,  but if you can scout out an interesting looking route you don't have to cover too much similar ground.

Here's a  few pictures from  a recent walk at the Southern end of the Malvern Hills, a favourite place called Holybush.  There are indeed a number of Holly trees in the vicinity, but it's the ancient Oak nearby that most traveler's seek out, along with the steep ascents of Ragged Stone Hill and the quaint  hamlet of White Leaved Oak. This is the Southern end of the Malvern's that most tourists steer clear of, most preferring the ancient  hillfort of British Camp / Herefordshire Becon and Malvern itself, along with the Worcestershire Beacon.

There is another hillfort near to Hollybush called evocatively Midsummer Hill, which has some great vistas, and leads down to the old stone quarry of the Gullet.

Inspired by the earlier Utley post/soundtrack to a walk, I was going to create a musical journey for the walk myself, but on the day, my Walkman came up trumps and did it for me.

Here's the SOUNDTRACK my Walkman threw up on this beautiful day.
Tracklist go something like this..

1.Nina Hagen - Born In Xixax
2.GR - Lowborn
3. Die Krupps - Wahre Arbeit, Wahrar Lohn
4. Fujiya Miyagi - Rot
5. BEAK> - Yatton
6. The KVB - Dreams
7.WIN WIN - Salt Days
8. Eat Lights, Become Lights - Carousel
9. The Orb (Feat Lee Scratch Perry) - Congo
10. Rites Wild - Detatched Living
11.Steve Hauschildt - Sequitur
12. Swans - In My Garden
13. Sensations Fix - Cosmic Suadade

Ragged Stone Hill

Old Route Down to White Leaved Oak

Young Birch, Beech and Hazel  plantation

View from Chase End Hill Looking South

Chase End Looking North To Ragged Stone Hill

Beech 'Hedgehogs' atop Pendock's Grove

The ancient Oak 'Wishing Tree'.

Straw Dreamcatcher


Some of the charm strewn branches

Wish You Were Here

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Jimmy's End

A short web film by Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins.

Bit of a slow start for a 'taster' but shows promise. Heard an interview on a film show on Radio 4 last week and plot sounded intriguing. Alan says the entire show, film and T.V.series, set in his beloved Northampton is already fully realised right down to the last sentence of the last scene. A brave claim and no mistake.
Part Psychoville, part Blue Velvet, part League Of Gentlemen, It takes place in the twighlight hinterland of a down at heel gentleman's night club cum burlesque joint, with the usual array of strange characters and twisted metaphysical subplots you'd expect if your familiar with Moore's writing.

The blurb goes something like this...

"We’ve all been there: in the lapses after midnight, stumbling down unfamiliar gutters after one too many for the road and looking for inviting lights before they call last orders. James is trying to lose himself, but in a fractured men’s room mirror finds the eyes that have been waiting for him.
Following from the unnerving prelude Act of Faith, Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins unveil a phantasmagoric English dreamtime made of goosefleshed pin-up girls, burned out comedians and faulty lights, with judgement just behind the tinsel
Jimmy’s End pulls back the purple drapes upon an intricate new planet of desire and mystery. We’ve all been there. Or it's where we're going."

Jimmy's End

Acts of Faith - Prelude.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Great Video My Nipper Made

My youngest has made a great video to her fav' McFly song in a competition by the band called 'Battle Of The Fans'.

She's worked on this diligently for several weeks making all the scenery etc...and shooting it with her digital camera. She's now worried that she won't be in with a chance of a prize, as many of the entries have been online for weeks already. If you enjoy it, give it a 'like' on facebook, I'm sure she's be well chuffed.


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Adrian Utley - Sonic Journeys at Croft Castle

Many walks I do are often sound-tracked by some great tunes which I often think of compiling into a mix CD or compilations.

Following a similar train of thought, The National Trust have commissioned Adrian Utley (Portishead) to make a Sonic Journey to accompany a walk around the NT property/estate of Croft Castle/Croft Ambrey (which is the Iron age hillfort above the grounds).
I've visited the place many times over the years, and it's a outstandingly beautiful area, with the estate and environs seemingly blessed with more than it's fair share of old or ancient tree's.

Utleys sketch of the walk
You can find a freely available download of the composition Here.

Here are a few of my own photo's of the estate and surroundings taken in 2009.

Art Instillation in Stables

Old Scot's Pine

Croft Castle

Castle from walled garden

Estate Church

Art Instillation - red wrapped tree

Sunset over the grounds

Trees from the avenue

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Oneida - A List Of Burning Mountains, Accompanying Videos

Oneida (pronounced One-Eye-Da) have just released their 12th LP on Jagjaguwar  a 2 track affair which has a couple of specially commissioned video's to accompany both of the 19 odd minute tracks. So far it's a  vinyl only album comprising all the trademark Oneida elements of drone/ noise/ kosmiche and free jazz in a frankly mind blowing/ head scratching single composition, it almost comprises a sort of psychedelic space opera, albeit without vocals or voice.

I gotta admit, this record had me baffled for the first few spins, but slowly, like a lotus flower opening, it's wonders slowly revealed themselves. A massive step up from the last part of the 'Thank Your Parents' trilogy 'Absolute II', which if I'm honest, was a massive impenetrable baffling disappointment for me.
'A List Of Burning Mountains' is probably more like the Oneida side project 'People Of The North' whose album 'Deep Tissue' never left my record deck for a month or two upon release.

Various artists were commissioned to do particular sections of the 'score'. I'm sure you'll agree it adds to the 'trip greatly.

If it's your kinda thing, buy the album here. for a fast a speedy service (amazingly mine turned up in just two days). Housed in a heavy weight card gate-fold, sleeve it's a beautiful thing to behold, and well worth owning.

Part 1

Part 2

People of the North - Over Me

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Out and About in 2012 - A Pictorial Memoir.

Not had a lot of time to keep up with the blog over the year, work and family stuff mainly, but here's a short record in pictures as to where I've been to over the year. More for me than anything, a pictorial memory prompt.

Summer Solstice Megalithic Odyssey On Angelsey 

Had a great couple of days camping out in Angelsey around the time of the Summer Solstice, something I'd been promising myself I'd do for years after completing a tomb type comparison for A Level Archaeology over 10 years ago. Had a wonderful time with beautiful weather and daylight up until 11pm at night.

Strange 'Breton' coach/head party at Bryn Celli Ddu, soaking up those vibes
Ty Croes campsite....all to my lonesome

Barclodiad Y Gawres from adjoining beach

Hut Circle up on Holyhead Mountain

Angelsey has a profusion of these lovely old CADW Signposts

As Above

Great Stone 'alignment' near Castell Bryn Gwyn Henge

Lligwy with it's 25 ton capstone...almost like the weight is causing it to sink into the underworld

Di Lligwy Romano British Settlement

Beautiful Headland entrance to Llanddwyn Island

South Stack, Holyhead

Early morning, Bryn Ccelli Ddu, minus Breton's

Sunlit Passage, Bryn Celli Ddu

View to Snowdon from Castell Bryn Gwyn

Lighthoouse keepers lodging, Llanddwyn Island

Cornwall August 2012

Had a lovely holiday with the family out on Bodmin Moor, though we travelled a fair bit cos' of bad weather. Saw some great sites, and as ever, I took myself off to look at, as my youngest says, Old Stones.

Buckfast, Butterfly Farm, Dartmoor

Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary

Buckfastleigh Steam Railway

River Dart

View from Merrivale, Dartmoor

Charlestown tall ships

Rough Tor, Bodmin

Rough Tor at Sunset

Rough Tor Stone Circle

Clapper Bridge, Bodmin Moor

Golitha Falls River - Bodmin

Trevithy Quoit Tomb

Caradon Mine, Bodmin... Echo and the Bunnymen's 'Ocean Rain'  LP cover was shot here

So that's how Iron Man got his powers!

Dinscott Tank Museum

Llangollen September 2012

Wife's Birthday 'outing' was to Llangollen. The A5 in this neck of the woods is one of the most glorious stretches of road, nestled between mountains and wooded slopes, it's a beautiful drive.

Bran and the Holy Grail

Llangollen Steam Railway

Trevor Rocks from Castell Dinas Bran

Wonderful old Hazel tree, must be over 100 years old

Brown and Titterstone Clee, Shropshire, October 2012

View East from Brown Clee

The 'strange' echoing woods of Brown Clee
Old Quarry workings, Titterstone Clee

Thunderbirds set...Titerstone Clee Radar Station

Man made landscapes - Titterstone Clee
Distant 'Inca' ruins of a prior civilisation
View Back to the 'Station'
Titterstone from afar

Purton Ghost Ships - River Severn -  June 2012

Came across a walk  for Purton Ghost Ships, a man made erosion embankment on the lower Severn in a walking mag' I picked up and just had to go. It's all now an SSSI, and as well as thhose evocative 'hulks', has a great wealth of wildlife and plants. Well worth a visit if your in the area.

Severn Valley Ghost Train - October 2012

My youngest was badgering for something different to do on Halloween, so we found a Ghost Train for her and a few of her pal's to go on. Was great fun, and she was double chuffed cos' of the 'Harry Potter' carriage we found for the journey. Hell, they even dressed up.

The Ghost Train

Various Times and Locations

Kinver Edge
Kinver Edge and Rock Houses

Home of the Trogledites
Niew from Broadway to Stanton and Buckland, Worcestershire
Toposcope on Fish Hill, near Broadway and Chipping Campden
The Plague Church, Worcestershire

Windblown Spiders Gossimeratop Earl's Hill, Shropshire

Poisonous looking mushroom, Clent Hills, Worcestershire
'Fairy Glade', off the beaten path at Clent