THE WONDERFUL AND FRIGHTENING WORLD OF MARK E. SMITH

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‘THE WONDERFUL AND FRIGHTENING WORLD OF MARK E. SMITH’

The Fall were famously the favorite band of legendary BBC DJ John Peel—the Fall recorded a whopping 24 Peel sessions, the most of any act, and the 2005 box set containing all of them is essential listening for any Fall devotee—the second disc in particular is fucking great.

The BBC documentary The Wonderful and Frightening World of Mark E. Smith obviously cribs its name from the Fall’s similarly titled album of 1984. The program documents the Fall’s origins, including their first recording session, which was financed by Buzzcocks manager Richard Boon, through their furtive (Brix-fueled) attempts at wider popularity in the 1980s, to their, or rather, his more or less current status as undeniably batshit punk elder.

The interview features interviews with past members Una Baines, Marc Riley, and Steve Hanley as well as (of course) tons of commentary from Smith himself, virtually all of which is damned hard to understand for U.S. viewers, which of course adds to the charm and mystique of it all.

.dangerous minds

 

UNDER THE RADAR: The Magnetic Fields – “’71 I Think I’ll Make Another World”

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UNDER THE RADAR: The Magnetic Fields – “’71 I Think I’ll Make Another World”.

Magnetic Fields’ main man, Stephin Merritt, is no stranger to a sizeable project, his most famous album is after all a three disc, three-hour long, 69 song opus covering almost every aspect of love you can imagine. So writing an album of fifty songs, one for every year of your life, well that seems a pretty straight forward task in comparison. Started on his 50th birthday, 50 Song Memoir, which was released on Nonesuch last week, is in many ways his musical auto-biography. A treasure trove of non-fiction events; an intimidating but brilliant collection, it’s the sort of record you feel as a listener, you probably won’t truly get your head around for many months, years, even lifetimes to come.

This week to promote the release, The Magnetic Fields have shared videos for a number of tracks from the record, our favourite of which is, ’71 I Think I’ll Make Another World. Set when Stephin was six, it finds him dreaming of starting a new world, and the freedom that would come with his own planet, as he sings, “it may not start very large, but no-one else will be in charge”. Musically it builds around a gently strummed mandolin, and sonorous, soaring strings, a bit like Scott Walker if he ever did anything lo-fi. It’s a fine introduction to the 50 Song Memoir, a record which in time might just go down as Stephin’s finest work.

50 Song Memoir is out now via Nonesuch.

.for the rabbits

 

THIS IS OUR MUSIC: The Pop Group – “Where There’s A Will”

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THIS IS OUR MUSIC: The Pop Group – “Where There’s A Will”.

Originally released as 7” single in 1980 and unavailable for several decades, ‘Where There’s A Will’ has been remastered from original tape for reissue as the opening track of The Pop Group’s compilation of rarities ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’.

An incendiary dance, it revels as much as it rebels. The song unleashes a feral form of torn, breakneck agit-funk with its potent urgency and savagely scathing vitality undimmed since its original release. A breathless torrent of writhing deviant disco bassline and volcanic free jazz sax, the song is electrified by Mark Stewart’s vocals, a rasping blitz of politically-charged calls for defiance and solidarity.

The countercultural militant message is delivered as a hysterical, riotous spree, as Gareth Sager (guitar, sax) explains, “The group’s best attempt to mix a message with a groove plus some real free playing. If you’re really unhinged you may be able to dance to this.”

The ‘Where There’s A Will’ video, which reworks rare footage of the band performing the song on Belgian TV in 1980, has been realised by The Pop Group’s visual collaborator, NY based artist Rupert Goldsworthy,

The Pop Group formed in Bristol in 1977 out of a sense of disenchantment with the increasing conservatism of punk.
Drawing on an eclectic range of influences from free jazz, conscious funk, heavyweight dub to avant-garde experimentalism, alongside contemporaries like Public Image Limited, This Heat and Throbbing Gristle, they were at the forefront of a musical period marked out by its ground-breaking innovation.

 

UNDER THE RADAR: Kasabian – “You’re In Love With a Psycho”

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UNDER THE RADAR: Kasabian – “You’re In Love With a Psycho”.

The Leicester band have been making all sorts of pronouncements of late, but for fans the wait is finally over.
New album ‘For Crying Out Loud’ will be released on April 28th, with Kasabian leading with a brand new single ‘You’re In Love With A Psycho’.

.clash

 

HOW TO MAKE AN ACID HOUSE CLASSIC: BRITISH DOC LOOKS AT THE BUSINESS OF HAPPY MONDAYS’ ‘BUMMED’ (2/2)

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HOW TO MAKE AN ACID HOUSE CLASSIC: BRITISH DOC LOOKS AT THE BUSINESS OF HAPPY MONDAYS’ ‘BUMMED’ (2/2)

Factory Records released the Happy Mondays’ second album Bummed, which was the band’s first real breakthrough, and the Granada TV show Information Technology in the U.K. released an episode depicting the business decisions that went into what proved to be one of the touchstones of acid house culture.

The documentary, which lasts about 20 minutes, takes us through three “Decisions,” those being “Recording Budget,” “Promotion Budget,” and “How Many to Make.” The strategy the filmmakers adopt is mostly fly-on-the-wall, so viewers have to glean information as best they can.

The affable Tony Wilson is our guide through some of the process, during which we see Tony Michaelides, Factory head of PR, grumbling about Shaun Ryder and Co. failing to appear for a radio interview; the esteemed producer Martin Hannett twiddling knobs at a console while the band lays down tracks; and manager Nathan McGough patiently explaining that Happy Mondays are worth the trouble even though they are a pain in the ass.

We also see the band and their friends at Central Station Design deciding on the album artwork as well as what the first single should be. (It was “Wrote for Luck.”)

The program ends with a glimpse of the band playing a show at Dingwalls on January 9, 1989. In the clip, the song they are singing is “Do It Better.” Features some decent footage of Bez doing his Bez “freaky dancing.”

.dangerous minds

 

HOW TO MAKE AN ACID HOUSE CLASSIC: BRITISH DOC LOOKS AT THE BUSINESS OF HAPPY MONDAYS’ ‘BUMMED’ (1/2)

Video

HOW TO MAKE AN ACID HOUSE CLASSIC: BRITISH DOC LOOKS AT THE BUSINESS OF HAPPY MONDAYS’ ‘BUMMED’ (1/2)

Factory Records released the Happy Mondays’ second album Bummed, which was the band’s first real breakthrough, and the Granada TV show Information Technology in the U.K. released an episode depicting the business decisions that went into what proved to be one of the touchstones of acid house culture.

The documentary, which lasts about 20 minutes, takes us through three “Decisions,” those being “Recording Budget,” “Promotion Budget,” and “How Many to Make.” The strategy the filmmakers adopt is mostly fly-on-the-wall, so viewers have to glean information as best they can.

The affable Tony Wilson is our guide through some of the process, during which we see Tony Michaelides, Factory head of PR, grumbling about Shaun Ryder and Co. failing to appear for a radio interview; the esteemed producer Martin Hannett twiddling knobs at a console while the band lays down tracks; and manager Nathan McGough patiently explaining that Happy Mondays are worth the trouble even though they are a pain in the ass.

We also see the band and their friends at Central Station Design deciding on the album artwork as well as what the first single should be. (It was “Wrote for Luck.”)

The program ends with a glimpse of the band playing a show at Dingwalls on January 9, 1989. In the clip, the song they are singing is “Do It Better.” Features some decent footage of Bez doing his Bez “freaky dancing.”

.dangerous minds

 

UNDER THE RADAR: Foreign Architects – “Sometimes I Run”

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UNDER THE RADAR: Foreign Architects – “Sometimes I Run”.

Foreign Architects, from Perth, Western Australia, formed in 2013, are Matt Burke and Andrew Barnett, singer-songwriter and drummer respectively.

Foreign Architects are just the latest in the great indie sounds coming out of Western Australia. ‘Sometimes I Run’ is an autobiographical song about knowing your own worth, and lyrically it explores the headspace, psyche, and contradictions that you know are illogical, but at first find easy to ignore.

‘Sometimes I Run’ was initially recorded at A Sharp recording studios, following a performance at the Oxford Art Factory, in Darlinghurst, Sydney. Tracking for the single was finished off at Matt and Andrew’s home studio, while the mastering was done by Andrew Edgson, at Sydney’s Studios 301.

.Essentially Pop