Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Recent Bid interview on the Monochrome Set

Interesting stuff indeed covering the history of this influential band from the B-Sides to Scarlet's Well. If this doesn't fill you up there is another interview with Bid and Lester Square on the eve of their 30th anniversary gig here

Warning to punk over medals

Every now and then I type in 'punk' to google news - you get some interesting stories like an interview with Poly Styrene, but this story is worth blogging. Apparently this student was on University Challenge wearing medals he wasn't entitled to and was warned by the police. Wow. Good to see they have so much time on their hands.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Toxic Sonic 'I Can't Stand Christmas'

Toxic Sonic are I think a Pravda side project - which means they're French and great songwriters - this ditty is great and pretty much says it all...


Great Northern War reenactors

Am I good to you lot or what? Here's a recent film of Russian GNW reenactors at Keksgolm (Karela) - looks great - wish I could be there but it's probably too cold for my constitution. Look out for a familiar face (if your name is Red)! See them in the snow at Narva on my other blog
More here

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Booker White Aberdeen Mississippi Blues

I may have blogged this before but what the hell - it's worth watching again. When the musical history of the 20th century is written with a few centuries' hindsight I think one of the most important things will be how sounds made by the poorest and most oppressed of the western world's people changed the character of music forever. There's something incredibly wrong about how people like the Rolling Stones have lived lives of luxury from careers based on outright plagiarism whereas the people who originated that music spent time in prison and lived lives of crushing poverty. Lyrics to Aberdeen Mississippi here

Friday, November 21, 2008

Call of Duty World at War review

This new WW2 FPS looks great - the pacific and the eastern front - plus a Nazi Zombie level...we're there dude..

Jolson Sings Again 'Back in Your Own Backyard'

The two Jolson biopics were huge hits and should have made its star Larry Parks a household name but he was blacklisted for once being a communist - read the wiki on him here. Tribute site here

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Al Jolson 'Toot toot tootsie Goodbye'

My Dad's got this on a wax 78 rpm (the flip is 'Back in Your Old Backyard' if I remember correctly) and as a kid I used to play it to death and tried to copy the whistling solo and I can still sing it by heart - it's a brilliant song if you don't know Jolson give it a whirl. I suppose (adopting an old-timer's voice) there must be hundreds of teenagers around today who haven't seen 'The Jolson Story' biopic or its sequel 'Jolson Sings Again' and so I must do what I can to redress that balance. I suppose a lot of the mastery is in the songs themselves - 'Watch for the mail, I'll never fail - If you don't get a letter then you know I'm in jail' . They don't write them like that anymore...

The Devil's Whore

Last night was the first episode in Channel 4's flagship English Civil War series the Devil's was it any good... did it work for me? Well the costumes were good, the wigs ok though Charles I's stick on beard was laughable, in general the look was good but as to the rest of it I thought it was a joke, a pathetic waste of resources and talent. The battle scenes - shot in South Africa were like 17 a side - and the digital work abysmal. Ok I sympathise with their obvious desire to not to use the Sealed Knot as extras but the end result was, sorry to say...crap. It looked like they watched the film 'Cromwell' for research, and from the clip of next week's episode it is only going to get worse. Only watch it if you have a warped sense of humour or hate history.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Braddock's Defeat film

This short movie about one of Britain's worst defeats at the hand of indians and Canadians in 1755 is worth watching. From the War that Made America documentary series.

Ghost Riders Carnival Float

The West Country's carnival season is now over, but we have the memories - and in this case a film my daughter shot of an excellent western themed float, taken in Radstock - not the hugest of processions but still impressive and worth braving the cold for. The origins of the West Country carnival tradition are lost in the midst of time - I think it probably originated as part of religious festivities around the powerful Glastonbury abbey but who knows?

Pinball with the Pussycat Dolls

I don't want you to think I do nothing but watch pop videos all day but I noticed in the current Pussycat Dolls video there is a pinball - according to a forum it's a Gottlieb Duotron or Magnatron.
Well I am glad someone has responded to my call to get pinballs back out into the limelight. Pity she isn't playing it though...maybe she's just had a really crap game - she looks a little like I feel after a game.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dinosaurs v American Civil War Federalists

If you think this blog has got a bit crap it's probably cos my son is off at Uni and not giving me hints about what to put out. This is his recent suggestion - I think you'll enjoy it...
Dinosaurs v Union? This may sound like a sand-pit encounter in the mind of a 5 year old but it's actually a roadside attraction.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hey! Elastica 'This Town'

Early 80s pop - from Scotland - didn't really make an impact though we liked 'em....

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Devil's Whore clip

Channel 4 are screening a new series starring John Simm called the Devil's Whore. The character he plays, 'Sexby' changes side during the battle of Naseby according to the Radio Times - looks like it might be fun.

Manicured Noise 'Metronome'

I wasn't a huge fan but you have to admire this slice of pop that looking back captures the time, the late 70s and the early 80s, pretty well.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Vivian Girls 'Tell the World'

This band are in this month's Maximum Rock and Roll - like we are or did I already tell you that? Anyway they seem to be creating quite a storm gigging around the US with their unique sound. A sound that takes in the Shangri-Las and shoegaze and still be totally fresh. Give it a spin and I'm sure by the end you'll be hooked. They're coming to Britain in December even getting down to Bristol - see their myspace for dates.

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion '2 Kindsa Love'

Whack up the volume. Enjoy this odd video.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Saints 'Know Your Product' 1978

I missed this great record from this Aussie band at the time - I kind of gave up on them after the 'Security' single but it was my loss as this is a timeless piece of rock and roll. Great audio on this.
If you want more Saints there's a great clip from the 78 tv series 'Return of the Saint' in which a kidnapping takes place at a punk gig at the Marquee - the Saints are playing in the background - whoever thought of that - genius!

Another Animals and Men description

Thanks Volcanic Tongue this is better - no 'crap blues guitarist' here... 'psych/blues/prole art' I like!

New on Mississippi Records, a compilation of alla the 45s and early demos from this great UK DIY group based in the Somerset town of Frome 1979-83. Originally dubbing themselves Psychotic Reaction, Animals + Men were a weird group in the way that they applied garage and blues forms to classic nowhere UK-style punk attitude and primitive, sludgy rock songs cut up with keyboard, harmonica and great female vocals. Their first single, “Don’t Misbehave In The New Age” was a Peel favourite and a minor indie hit when it came out in 1980 but by 1981 the original band had split and morphed into The Terraplanes who went on to release three further 45s that expanded on the primitive psych/blues/prole art feel of the original group. Some of the demos here turned up on a Hyped 2 Death/Messthetics release but it feels great to have alla the best-loved material from this obscure collective pulled together on one slab of vinyl. Comes with an insert with liners, pics and track commentary.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Captured by Indians

We haven't had much of this era - the French and Indian war - for a while - this is two excerpts from 'The War That Made America' and they deal with the subject of white settlers being captured by natives and their fate.

Friday, November 07, 2008

A crap blues guitarist?

Course it's not all good when you have a record out - people write things about you like on this site ' A crap blues guitarist quit his band after being inspired by punk & needed a new & young vocalist'. Ouch! Funny really...something else to put on my Facebook description other than 'I am a miserable git' which I currently have...

Punk Harmonica 'Evil Going On'

Someone came onto this blog searching 'Punk Harmonica' which I must admit got me to thinking about that whole concept and so to celebrate the release of our lp Never Bought Never Sold I thought I'd post this clip (again) of us in the early 80s as my attempt at punk harmonica. We dropped the guitar entirely for a single with fairly disastrous consequences at the time as people just wrote it off but I think now people judge it to be pretty good.

Harmonicas on the web

Harmonica is not everyone's cup of tea. With it's associations with blues and folk music it is an instrument that will always have a thing with the 60s - after all the Beatles, Stones, Dylan - all featured the tiny gob iron. As the 70s rolled on it went into decline as guitar-based blues a la Led Zep became most band's model and until Lee Brilleaux of the Feelgoods got people enjoying amplified harp it was distinctly unfashionable. I think it's time for a revival and I do try and feature harp music on this blog as I try to do battle with the tyranny of the guitar gods. If you want one - try this company - supplier of harmonicas and mics to the Bad Detectives no less.

La Chambre des officiers (2001)

A lot of world war one stuff in the media at the moment as it's 90 years since the armistice. I'm going to throw in my contribution - a trailer for a French movie that has to be the grimmest of all the Great War films and believe me that is no easy thing. It's the story of a young French officer who has a chunk of his face blown off by shrapnel and it's very moving and quite difficult to watch. The trailer may be enough for most people - but as I often say 'trailers are the busy person's movie'...actually I just made that up but they are aren't they? Condensed to the point that sometimes actually watching the whole film is superfluous.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Coasters 'What is the secret of your success?'

Glory be! At last someone posted this great clip - and it coincided with the opening of the first of this season's home made pickled onions - wow!

Where have all the pinballs gone?

I only recently became aware of this scary slide to extinction. We must band together to get them back where they should be - in cafes, pubs, youth centres - anywhere where people gather. If you need to know where the pinballs are these days try Pinformer - a map of Britain telling you where they all are - I learnt that there is one in Exeter at the Cavern club - must try and get a gig there. We'd be there before the punters and in hog heaven...

Stereolab 'Ping Pong'

One of the 90s more interesting bands in my opinion. Never seen this video before or seen them live so it's interesting to see what they look like. I suppose I ought to sell the band to you a bit in case you haven't heard them - John Peel used to play them a fair bit - just give it a try - it's very appealing intelligent pop. They write great lyrics and were Marxists I think - this song Ping Pong has the great lines - it's alright 'cos the historical pattern has shown how the economical cycle tends to revolve in a round of decades three stages stand out in a loop a slump and war then peel back to square one and back for more bigger slump and bigger wars and a smaller recovery huger slump and greater wars and a shallower recovery

Fuzztones 'Ward 81'

The Fuzztones are playing the Dirty Water Club in London on November 8th! Should be a great night for garage fans...