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Melodic Randomiser Unspooled 3…

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Welcome back to the fragile plastic box of delights that is the prequel to the CD Melodic Randomiser, a selective plundering of my huge collection of cassette tapes, some of which are approaching forty years old and still going strong.

This selection is made up of music from the eighties and early nineties (the closing half of the cassette’s glory days) both from this side of the Atlantic and the other, not to mention the other side of the border and across the Irish Sea too.

The first of today’s trio is one of two compilations, this is one called Absolution and is themed around what I suppose you would call the indie-goth sound.

The first half is livelier, more spiky and abrasive, with side two demonstrating the introspective side of the genre, building to an angry, bass driven, post-punk classic.

I keep feeling the need to use that word, classic, but it can be applied to so many songs here, including this, from arch-miserablists Echo and the Bunnymen and their 1983 hit, The Cutter

…then there is this, my all-time favourite David Bowie cover, the Bauhaus version of Ziggy Stardust.

Closing side one is a bona fide goth anthem, The Jesus and Mary Chain with the wondrous Some Candy Talking.

Side two starts softly and becomes darker as it goes on, with Enjoy the Silence from Depeche Mode

…followed by the surprisingly gentle and sophisticated tones of The Stranglers with this, European Female

…and Absolution ends with a thundering beast of a song, New Model Army‘s No Rest, which is so good, I’m giving you the full album.

You’re welcome.

Tape two is another much-played favourite, a solo project from Husker Dü frontman, Bob Mould, and I’ve chosen the single, If I Can’t Change Your Mind from Sugar‘s 1992 album, Copper Blue.

If you like that and want to hear more, you can listen to the whole album HERE.

Which brings us to the last of my random selections for today, a slightly poppier affair, compiling some upbeat chart hits from Scottish and Irish bands of the nineties, from which I’ve picked Orange Juice and their biggest single, Rip It Up

…this unlikely hit from the fabulously named Goats Don’t Shave and Las Vegas (in the hills of Donegal)

…and I’m finishing this third dip into my magnetic archives with an absolute, genuine, fully-fledged, copper-bottomed pop (yep, I’m gonna use that word again) “classic”, the sublime Somewhere In My Heart from Roddy Frame‘s Aztec Camera.

Go on, sing along, you know you want to.

I hope you can join me again soon for the next spool back into the past and in the meantime, remember…
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Posted by on August 9, 2015 in Melodic Randomiser, Music, Video

 

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Melodic Randomiser Unspooled 1…

image Welcome, one and all, to the first installment of this new archival plundering of my music collection, this time via the little plastic cases of wonder/frustration we folks from the olden days knew as cassettes, or simply “tapes”.

Melodic Randomiser Unspooled will follow the same pattern as the CD version; I shall occasionally dip into my vintage cassette library, progressing through the various boxes of pre- and  home-recorded albums and compilations, posting videos and links to whatever random example of magnetically preserved masterpiece takes my fancy from each trio of tapes.

Since the same principal of chaotic disorganization that ruled my CD racks has been applied to storing my tapes, you never know what sort of strange brew you’ll end up with, with today’s first mixtape being a fine example.

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The Steve Miller band had several pretty big hits, one of them briefly resurrecting Steve’s career, by way of its use in a jeans commercial, although the  track I’ve chosen today isn’t one of his most memorable songs.
This is probably due to the fact that it comes from the 1984 release, Italian X-rays, a bad enough name for an album as it is, without adding insult to injury by swamping any remaining musical credibility with horrible cheesy ’80s synth lines.

I thought I’d go the whole hog and play the one track that’s completely synth-based. I mean, when you’re dealing with cheese, there’s no point in going for half measures is there?

Here’s Bongo Bongo, terrible eighties animated video and all.

Next up, a mixtape in itself, one made for me by a friend, (that noble, pre-internet tradition of music sharing; Hello and thank you, Nick) kicking off with Side One, Various Artists and the first of two tracks, Richard Warren‘s multi-genre project, Echoboy and a song called Kit And Holly

…followed by another man whose style is impossible to pigeonhole, Johnny Dowd and the fabulous Monkey Run.

Side two has a definite theme, beginning with a few songs from Talking Heads Fear Of Music album and I’ve chosen this characteristically spiky offering, Paper

…segueing nicely into a couple of solo David Byrne songs, my favourite of which is this joyously percussive slice of eccentrica, Look Into The Eyeball.

So far, so varied, but tape number three ups the eclecticism ante somewhat, containing as it does a radio recording from ten years ago.
BBC Radio’s One’s “Peel Day” was a celebration of the life and work of veteran DJ, champion of unsigned bands and national treasure, John Peel, who tragically died one year earlier.
The live, all night broadcast featured interviews, live performances and archive sessions by bands and artists who had been mentored by John, had appeared on the show, or were simply inspired to make music by listening to his legendary late night transmissions, from both the BBC and the studio at his family’s home, “Peel Acres”.

The first track that came on when I pressed play (sacrilegiously, the tape hadn’t been rewound!) was instantly recognisable as one of the so called “world music” artists to get regular airplay on John’s show, Kanda Bongo Man.
Listening to Peel was what introduced me to the frenetic rhythms of African music, especially the sort of lively guitar sounds associated with music from Soweto and the Belgian Congo (now called Zaire).
This song from the Congolese superstar reminds me of that thrill of new musical discovery, all those years ago.

This is Sai.

Then, in typical Peel fashion, I was treated to this historic live session recording of Whole Lotta Love by rock’s Golden Gods, Led Zeppelin, from way back in 1969.

Side two of the last in my opening salvo of jukebox tom-spoolery begins with something that, again, couldn’t be more different, a live performance from hardcore electronic experimentalist, Kid 606 and from that set I’ve chosen this, the original video for The Illness.

Which only leaves us with the final song they played in tribute to one of radio’s greatest exponents of new music, the song of which John Peel once said;

“If they ever do a tribute show for me when I die, this’ll be the last song they play.”

A fitting end then, to the inaugural post of the Melodic Randomiser‘s return; ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding for Roy Harper and When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease.

Thank you for listening.

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Melodic Randomiser: Day six…

We all have that one album, the one we think of as our own personal musical gem, to be shared with the world in general (i.e. anyone we can get to listen to it) and today’s sequential stroll through my CD collection brings us to mine.
I bought this about twelve years ago and as yet I haven’t found anybody who doesn’t like it, it’s just one of those albums. No matter what genre of music somebody is into, it manages to worm its way into the ears like the biggest pop hits do, yet it seems as if hardly anyone has ever heard of them.

Releasing a CD called “Skyjacked” in 2001 may not have been the most brilliant marketing strategy, but I’ll give Koot the benefit of the doubt and assume it came out before September.
Why Some Bizarre records didn’t reissue it under a different name is beyond me, because it is a genuinely fantastic album.

There don’t seem to be many tracks available by them on YouTube either, but Mississippi Soul, Backbone Gently and Sunshine At Last are, and they’re all worth your time.

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The next band to get the Randomiser treatment have plenty of internet coverage however, so I can present to you “This Modern Glitch” by The Wombats in its entirety…

…followed by my favourite track from the next disc in line, “Performance And Cocktails” by Welsh indie rock stalwarts Stereophonics.
Ladies and gentlemen, The Bartender And The Thief.

As a special bonus, (because I’m about to put it on next and otherwise you’d miss it) I leave you with the frenzied Japanese cartoon tech-punk of The Mad Capsule Markets with Midi Surf.

Brace yourselves.

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2014 in Arts, Melodic Randomiser, Music

 

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Double century musical rewind…

I was pleased and somewhat amazed to note that my last article was the 200th post on Diary of an Internet Nobody, a milestone that, back in June 2012 would have seemed like an unreachable goal.
Back then the only thing I was sure of was that there would be no theme to the blog, and that the one thing it wouldn’t be was an excuse for me to rant evangelically about all the music I’d been listening to.

Well, since then I’ve blogged about everything from faith to photography, Easter to etymology and movie mash-ups to magic mushrooms, but even with that wide range of topics, music has never been far away.
No matter if it was shoehorning a tune into a post with the intention of illustrating a point, embedding video clips of bands playing at festivals we attended, or simply cramming as many songs as possible into a  tenuously linked, stream of consciousness daisy chain, just for the hell of it, I don’t seem to be able to resist dropping a musical reference in there somewhere.

As I’d given in to temptation a couple of weeks ago and devoted two whole posts to the glorious days of ’80s synth-pop, and never having been one to pass up the chance to promote talented artists I admire, I thought I’d take the opportunity afforded by my double century of blog posts to look back at some of the musically inclined folks I’ve met since opening the door onto the Great Big Internet just a few short years ago.

Even as I began writing this post it occurred to me that I’ve been lucky enough to meet, or be introduced to, a great many gifted musicians through the magic of cyberspace.
Whether it was via friends I already knew, fellow bloggers, or new acquaintances I made on Facebook, there’s no shortage of talent out there just waiting to be discovered.
So today I’d like to present my very own showcase of audio-visual highlights from my time spent trawling the ether, for your delectation and enjoyment.

Roughnecks.

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One of the many local bands that we are fortunate enough to have around North Devon are these hard rocking, heavy riffing dudes who play classic rock, blues and prog covers. Fronted by a work colleague of mine, Richard Woods, the unusual twist is that not only does he belt out an very creditable Robert Plant impression, he also plays bass and theremin, (strange, spacey electronic gizmo, played by passing one’s hand through the instrument’s invisible magnetic field) allowing for some other-worldly effects on songs by gig favourites, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.

In this suitably psychedelic clip they take on Led Zep’s You Shook Me.

Duncan Virgoe.

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An old friend of mine and consummate singer/songwriter/musician (plus a couple of roles in successful stage musicals) Duncan has featured previously on the blog as the subject of a video experiment we made to accompany one of his own compositions. Since he has made a new, improved version of the video, I thought I’d remind you of the song, the deeply funky He Come To Pass.

Katy Virgoe.

Music clearly flows in the veins of the Virgoe family, as Duncan’s teenage daughter Katy shows in this clip of her performing her own song, Please Don’t Cry.

Jono Harrison.

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Almost as though I was back in Tenuous Lynx mode, the chain of connections goes on, as my next clip is from Jonathan “Jono” Harrison, compatriot of Duncan from their touring band The Freaking Musos and rising star in his own right.
A singer/songwriter who has in recent months toured with big names such as The Cutting Crew and 10cc, I first met Jono when he came down with Duncan to play some busman’s holiday gigs at pubs on the North Devon coast a few years ago.

Here he is with one of his own songs, Josephine Waits.

…and the daisy chain continues with the multi-talented drummer from that same touring band, Joe Caple.
Under his pseudonym of Caveman Genius, Joe works as musician, producer and owner of Paper Bones records in Brighton.
In the first of two clips, here’s a video made by FishBoy for the Caveman Genius track, Jim.

…and from one of Joe’s other projects, indie band Wild Cat Strike,  another FishBoy video for Buried at Sea.

Continuing the Brighton theme, here’s a treat for any lovers of British hip-hop, the more-street-than-I’ll-ever-hope-to-be, mischievous stoner rap of Benaddict on Yogocop records with Anomeric.

….and the equally weed-stoked Rain

After all that herbal high-jinx, how about going Up on Acid Mountain with the fabulously twangy sound of my friend Banjo Dai, a man who really knows how to pick those strings…

LISTEN HERE

…as does one of my acquaintances from across the pond, Mike Mando. Here he is with the band he plays in, S.P.I.N. (Soul Patch Is Neat)

…and for those of you that appreciate something a little more experimental and electronic, how about the trance-like soundscapes of a Gareth Farmer aka Carbonates on Mars.

CHECK OUT “CYBERVILLE” HERE.

But if you want something a bit grimier, sample a taste of The Dark Lord of Dance himself, the enigmatic, reclusive and currently dormant Ludwig Hiscariot.

Here is his take on Danny Elfman’s theme to Beetlejuice

…along with an original piece, Candle Dance, which he was good enough to compose for one of my early experiments in stop-motion animation.

Finally, here’s a link to a friend and ex-workmate (and shoo in for the next Dr Who) Steve “the Dr” Conway, veteran of many bands and still finding time for composing and playing solo music, despite his fancy new job at our local college.

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There’s a link to a fine selection of his songs below, please take a listen to those and all the other artists’ material, because supporting up and coming, local and underground talent like this can only help ensure our rich musical heritage stays alive and vibrant for the enjoyment of generations of music fans to come.

STEVE CONWAY’S REVERBNATION PAGE.

Thanks for listening, hope you found something to interest, excite, or intrigue you.

{Additional artist photos courtesy of Duncan Virgoe, Jono Harrison and Steve Conway}

 

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