LOCKDOWN MUSIC: WEEK 12 – PIG FEET

THE SOUND OF NOW? After pushing the Algiers line in last week’s Lockdown Music, Pig Feet stormed through and lobbed a brutal response to police brutality with beats of fury, Kamasi sax and a video that shocks you into a state of alert. THIS IS IT: the sound of now, nailed by Terrace Martin with Denzel Curry, Kamasi Washington, Daylyt and G Perico. Watch it all the way to the end for a tragic truth that makes you feel sick.

What else this week? Re-runs of Childish Gambino’s This is America. Repeat listens of older ragers. New albums by Desert Storm and Triptykon. Here’s the week’s listening.

JUNE 6
Old Man Gloom – Ape of God II
Desert Storm – Omens

JUNE 7
Saul Williams – Saul Williams
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – Viscerals

JUNE 8
Pinnick Gales Pridgen – Pinnick Gales Pridgen
PGP: Of all the non-King’s X Dug Pinnick projects I’ve managed to get (plenty to go yet, CHEERS dUg!), this one stuck the least – seemed a bit showy, a bit scorch-o blues, on the first few spins. Listening today, cycling the city with it cranked loud while the world’s anti-racism touch paper gets smoked into flames, PGP felt like they belonged in this moment. Experimental? No. Political? Not explicitly. Tough riffs and blues-edged heaviness by three guys who live it? Yes.

JUNE 9
Algiers – Blood
Algiers – 1st November 1954
David Bowie – Heroes
Robert Plant – Carry Fire
Bowie, Heroes: The end of the day called for Robert Fripp, but not King Crimson. Something song-oriented, so where else but Heroes? You can’t argue with this album, nor can you argue with Fripp’s gift for pushing others’ music into unexpected places.

JUNE 10
Nine Inch Nails – The Slip
King Crimson – Beat

JUNE 11
Ozo – Saturn
One Day As A Lion – One Day As A Lion
King Crimson – Three of a Perfect Pair
One Day As A Lion: Yeah well, it’s that kind of time, isn’t it? Zack de la Rocha and Jon Theodore go primal with bass, drums and distortion.

JUNE 12
Blown Out – New Cruiser
Triptykon with the Metropole Orkest – Requiem (Live at Roadburn 2019)

Given that the UK lockdown is now easing, this might be the last Lockdown Music log. Or maybe it gets a different name, who knows?

Keep safe, keep the music ON.

LOCKDOWN MUSIC: WEEK 11 – ALGIERS

‘I CAN’T BREATHE.’ We know the rest, sadly. And since George Floyd’s murder by police in Minneapolis, we’ve seen an explosion of resistance and demands for change and justice. Good. We’re behind time. Black music of resistance and protest has surged on the radio, but can rock do more than crank out Rage Against the Machine again, good as they are? Something newer, less familiar? Pure entertainment won’t cut it, neither will one-dimensional anger. Whose voice speaks of Right Now?

One, without question, is Algiers. Walk Like a Panther rages so hard and with so much soul that it shorts your body-brain circuits. Check the video then check your heart for a BPM shift. Check Blood. Check The Underside of Power, There Is No Year and anything else you can get your digits on. Hit Bandcamp and give cash for Can The Sub Bass Speak?, released as a single last week ‘…to support the struggle to end state violence against Black people and destroy white supremacy‘. Check Algiers for the firepower, fury and soul that music needs right now.

Who are you turning to?

Here’s the listening for Lockdown Week 11. Heavy times, much to learn and do.

MAY 30
S
wans – My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky
Ryley Walker – Golden Sings That Have Been Sung
Kamasi Washington – Harmony of Difference

MAY 31
The Beloved – Single File

JUNE 1
Algiers – There Is No Year
Ministry – Relapse

JUNE 2
Algiers – The Underside of Power
Charles Rumback and Ryley Walker – Cannots
Algiers – There Is No Year
Rumback & Walker, Cannots: Following Walker’s Golden Sings the other day, Cannots got an airing. Wildly underplayed, this record – mistake. These guitar and drums instrumentals veer from Walker’s song-based records towards more experimental jams that draw on the earth and the elements, at times carried by the same barren winds as Earth’s Hex: Or Printing the Infernal Method..

JUNE 3
Soundgarden – Live From The Artists Den, disc 2

JUNE 4
Funk Spectrum: Real Funk for Real People (compiled by Josh Davis and Keb Darge)
Ministry – From Beer to Eternity
Old Man Gloom – Ape of God I

JUNE 5
Zozobra – Harmonic Tremors
Corrosion of Conformity – No Cross, No Crown
Zozobra, Harmonic: There’s nothing like the bone-shaking bass of Caleb Scofield RIP to free you from human-made constructs, trivia and banality. Tune in to a primal noise frequency.

Keep the music ON, keep safe.

Lockdown Music week 10 right here.

LOCKDOWN MUSIC: WEEK 10 – SEATTLE

TRIPPING CORNELL’S MEMORY CORNER. May 18 was the anniversary of Chris Cornell’s death – three years gone. Did the surfacing of this thought make Soundgarden’s Live From the Artists Den a more moving listen this week? Maybe. But maybe not. Maybe it was solely the strength of the music and set list that did it, because it is a massive, immersive listen – if you create the space and give yourself the chance. Two discs, recorded in 2013, released in 2019. Sure, you’ve got to be a little bit in love with Soundgarden, but is any proper rock head not? Seriously?

So, this was the listen of the week, prompting thoughts of lost musicians and how they affect the way we listen to music, whether we listen closely enough to music in the first place, and what the role of a live album is these days.

What else? Here’s Week 10.

MAY 23
Radiohead – TKOL RMX, disc 2
Soundgarden – Live From the Artists Den, disc 1

Soundgarden, Live: No fewer than seven of the 17 tracks on disc one are from King Animal, and the non-album track Blind Dogs is in there as well. Definitely not just a greatest hits retread, is it? Taree, Rowing, BEN SHEPHERD’S HULKING BASS … Soundgarden still had something to say and the playing proves it. Listen with ghosts in mind, and not just for Cornell. Those four people will never do this again.

MAY 24
Van Halen – Van Halen
R
adiohead – The King of Limbs

MAY 25
Van Halen – Van Halen II
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Ghosteen

MAY 26
Nomeansno – All Roads Lead to Ausfahrt

MAY 27
Radio, nothing else logged

MAY 28
Radiohead – TKOL RMX, disc1

MAY 29
Underworld – Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future
Urthona – Amid Devonia’s Alps

Underworld, Barbara: Always a restorative power, Underworld. Always. Find myself turning to them whenever things aren’t quite straight – not consciously, they’re just the band who set you right. Balance regained, ready for the wild, barren, rural untaming that is Urthona. Moors music.

Keep safe, keep the music ON!

Previous Lockdown Music – Week 9

LOCKDOWN MUSIC: WEEK 9 – TASTE

THERE’S NO ACCOUNTANTS FOR TASTE. Or something like that. Bloody good job, too – who wants their tastes audited? Then again, we’re casually audited all the time, like I was at home this week:

“For someone who likes some pretty decent music, I just don’t understand why you play this.”

Fair enough when it’s an obnoxio drone/doom/mathcore noise or dirge that gets chanced upon, no probs with that being questioned (which it often is). But that wasn’t the case this week. No, in week 9 of lockdown, the antagonist was

Van Halen II.

Worse, the comment wasn’t even made during the always-horrible Dance the Night Away. It was during Somebody Get Me a Doctor. And, because I was there, I know what that comment really meant:

“For someone who likes some pretty decent music, I just don’t understand why you play this absolute cheese.”

Withering. But, even though such a sentiment is sort of understandable, it doesn’t stick because nothing will ever make those first four Van Halen records anything less than pyrotechnical pleasure shots. Pure joy with dropped jaws … the records sound great, right now especially, and they make you feel even better. Even with occasional misfires like Dance the Night Away.

And if you’re one of the Van Halen Equals Cheese heathens, look out for a review soon/ish.

Aside from all that, which albums have annoyed your nearest and dearests during lockdown? Any cred-cutting gems we need to talk about?

Week 9 listening. Here it was.

MAY 16
Radio, no gaga

MAY 17
Clutch – Earth Rocker

MAY 18
Van Halen – Women and Children First

MAY 19
Van Halen – Van Halen II
Blood Incantation – Hidden History of the Human Race
Ex Eye – Ex Eye

Blood, Hidden: This arrived last week, a follow-up purchase from a previous Rewind.The CD sticker says ‘mind-bending cosmic death metal’ and on first listen, outside late with the weakening sun, that makes sense. Brutal complexity. Looking forward to the next trip.

MAY 20
Erik B & Rakim – Don’t Sweat the Technique

MAY 21
Burial – Street Halo/Kindred

MAY 22
Killing Joke – MMXII
A Perfect Circle – Eat the Elephant
Porcupine Tree – The Incident

Space in the head needed. Brian Eno’s Music For Airports didn’t do it, neither did Robert Fripp’s Radiophonics: 1995 Soundscapes Volume 1 – a bit unsettling (though Fripp has just launched a 50-week Music for Quiet Moments series, which could be a useful lockdown resource).

But A Perfect Circle? Yes. It worked. Roomy tunes and an even keel.

Speaking of Fripp, check this duel with wife Toyah for some instant cheer. Fripp impassive in the face of flamboyance. Guitar anything but.

Keep safe, keep the music ON!

Previous Lockdown Music – Week 8

LOCKDOWN MUSIC: WEEK 8 – STOOGES

THE MOST VIOLENT ROCK INTRO EVER? Any time I Wanna Be Your Dog torches the speakers, this question comes to mind. It has nothing to do with extremity of speed or heaviness or explicit content or any such genre-bound qualities. This is about something much more innate and visceral. Can you imagine how forceful this must have been in the studio? I can’t. It’s just too big to be contained, and you know this because even at the lowest volume, it still sounds hostile. Destroy, annihilate and burn, it’s all there in those first 25 seconds. And the best/worst of it is, it’s almost casual. Amoral, even.

Why the Stooges chat this week? Because IWBYD was on the radio, feral as it ever was, and that ties in pretty neatly with a story about the debut Stooges album on Henry Rollins’ radio show. Details below, BE MORE STOOGE.

Week 8 soundtrack.

MAY 9
John Garcia – John Garcia
Henry Rollins – Cool Quarantine 2

Rollins, Quarantine: if you can’t commit to nearly four hours of radio but need some Stooges history, zip forward to 1 hour 32 minutes and 33 seconds of The Cool Quarantine 2. There, you get the backstory about the John Cale mix of the first Stooges album and then you can hear that mix of the whole album. As well as a different mix, it has a different running order too. Which now feels very strange. Is it better? Go find out. I reckon there would be universal agreement about the answer.

MAY 10
Teardrop Explodes – Kilimanjaro
These Arms Are Snakes – Oxeneers or the Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home
Iggy Pop – New Values
Julian Cope – Self Civil War

MAY 11
The Cult – Born Into This
Thin Lizzy – Fighting
Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland

MAY 12
Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland
Metallica Monday – Black album 2012

MAY 13
Betty Davis – This Is It
REM – Reveal
Prince – Lovesexy

MAY 14
Miles Davis – On the Corner
Muriel Grossman – Momentum

Davis, Corner: this is what happens when you re-read Lester Bangs, isn’t it? Wild, insightful, high on ego and never less than persuasive, his writing compels you to go to the source and check what you missed, so this listening choice is power to Bangs more than Davis. Kind of Grim: Unravelling the Miles Perplex and Miles Davis: Music for the Living Dead, both collected in Mainlines, Blood Feasts and Bad Taste, are the pieces. On the Corner still doesn’t grab, but so what. The Bangs route back was worth it.

MAY 15
Prince – Lovesexy

Keep safe, keep the music ON!

Previous Lockdown Music –Week 7

LOCKDOWN MUSIC: WEEK 7 – METALLICA

METALLICA UNPLUG, DISCHORD STREAMS FREE ON BANDCAMP. As well as putting out their weekly Monday gig from the archives, Metallica have joined the broadcast-from-home set with an acoustic version of Blackened where you can watch all four players on a four-way split screen. Hilarious to see Kirk Hammett throw arena metal shapes over an acoustic track but it’s a tidy version, especially the verse arrangement and the solo. More acoustica to come? Hope so.

Given the frequent Henry Rollins mentions in these lockdown posts, it’s timely to hear that Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson, owners of the Dischord recod label, made the entire Dischord discography available to stream free on Bandcamp this week. Great way to sample their output, looking forward to educating meself in the sounds of Dischord.

How’s it going out there? How are you using music – pleasure? Medication? Adventure? A shield from the world? Probably all of the above and more. I know I am.

Albums played, lockdown week 7.

MAY 2
Killing Joke – Fire Dances

Killing Joke – Night Time

Joke, Fire: Love Killing Joke, never click with this album. Same with two or three of their early ones. Whenever the urge to revisit them rears up, I look forward to it, sure that their magic will be revealed this time. But in Fire Dances, it still hides. Try again next week?

MAY 3
King Crimson – The Elements Tour Box 2019, disc 2

MAY 4
Isis – Wavering Radiant
Ministry – The Last Sucker

Isis, Wavering: Love Isis, never click with this album … hang on. It’s true, though. Musically sublime – it’s the final step on the bridge towards Palms– it’s the album where Aaron Turner’s vocals went to shit or just got badly produced/recorded. Sounds like he’s trying too hard to be gruff and it’s forced, unlike all previous albums. And I hate saying that, because Isis are phenomenal.

MAY 5
Harvey Milk – Life … the Best Game in Town
Carcass – Heartwork
Metallica Monday – House of Vans 2016

MAY 6
Betty Davis – This Is It

Davis, This: Perfectly named compilation. I mean, how much attitude can a person pack into a blistering funk blowout? They Say I’m Different, Your Mama Wants Ya Back, Shut Off the Light, This Is It … the back end of the CD, funk at hard volume.

MAY 7
Boris – Heavy Rocks
Gnod – Infinity Machines, disc 1

MAY 8
Julia Holter – Loud City Song

Keep safe, keep the music ON!

Previous Lockdown Music – Week 6

LOCKDOWN MUSIC: WEEK 6 – SANITY

THE BAG OF SANE. This has been my saviour since lockdown started: a small bag packed with means of playing music. This is what we need to survive a world where personal space has gone missing. Just grab your personal portable music stuff – for me, it’s the ipod, a personal CD player, a personal DAB, headphones, a USB power pack, and a notebook and pen – and stick it in a bag.

Then keep it somewhere you can always get it. Because when the opportunity or the need for music arises, the last thing you want is to be scrambling around for Vital Items from a room that’s about to be out-of-bounds for a conference call, zoom social or whatever. You need to be ready, always. 100% music mobile in the confines of your own house.

And with a Bag of Music Sane, you’re sorted. BOMS will level your head and bring inner peace. Any corner, garage or back step can become your music world.

Sure, the smartphone could do all this, but that’s not the way I listen to music. Nil by Spotify. CDs are the dominant format, which is why I got a new personal CD player a couple of years back – to play them more often. And it’s been a great addition, especially when a creaking laptop renders the ipod less versatile than it once was (it’s still loaded, mind. Just not with any CDs bought in the last two and a half years).

Lockdown Music Week 6, here’s what it sounded like.

APRIL 25
Radio … often the way of the weekend. 6 Music

APRIL 26
Wire – Mind Hive
Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts VI

APRIL 27
Tenesha the Wordsmith – Peacocks and Other Savage Beasts
Bruford Levin – Upper Extremeties

CD skidding like a pigeon landing on a waxed floor? Nope. It’s Bill Bruford being a proficient time-shifting bastard in this high-muso hook-up with fellow King Crimson bass/stick player, Tony Levin. Guitar by David Torn.Trumpet Chris Botti. Impressive. It’s a mistake, nay shameful, not to play this more.

APRIL 28
Music Blues – Things Haven’t Gone Well

Metallica – Hardwired … to Self Destruct
Gnod & Joao Pais Filipe – Faca de Terra (new track)

Gnod: mentioned this track in the Rewind, but then it prompted a little Gnod dig, and … well, Infinity Machines was checked quickly (not heard it before) and sounded too vast not to order. Immediately. A little expensive, but surely worth it.

APRIL 29
Wire – Pink Flag

Listened to this album from start to finish to accompany the end of a book I just finished – Pink Flag from the 33 1/3 Series. Brilliant read, very much recommended. The last section has notes on each track in album order, so OF COURSE you need to play it while you read. Thing is, the tracks are shorter than the time it takes to read the notes. Must go back and read more fully. And yes, it does enrich the Pink Flag experience.

APRIL 30
Didn’t make a note. How remiss

MAY 1
Prince – Around the World in a Day
Henry Rollins – The Cool Quarantine 2

Keep safe, keep the music ON!

Previous Lockdown Music – Week 5

LOCKDOWN MUSIC: WEEK 5 – FRIPP

WHICH MUSICIANS ARE KEEPING YOU GOING? The weekly Metallica Mondays are a welcome treat, especially when Lars does the intro (haven’t seen James and Kirk yet). His rambles are warm and wordy (what else?), and the togetherness of the whole thing just makes you feel good. The chance to see all this live Metallica footage is a very cool gesture.

And if you haven’t done it already, check the way Fuel rips open the Munich 2015 show (2 minutes 30 seconds into the clip). THAT’S how you start a gig. Any band who can make that many people that happy is doing something right. Stick around for Disposable Heroes too, great live version.

A very different type of communication comes from Robert Fripp. As you’d expect. But also very much not as you’d expect. His daily ‘I Advance Masked’ diary updates have routine at their core, and this becomes quietly comforting and part of your own new routine. It’s like reading Henry Rollins’s books, you get the same format every time.

But Fripp occupies a wholly different space with lengthy, thoughtful, analytical explorations and excerpts from past diary encounters. And he sometimes reveals a side you’d never expect – I mean, did anyone see this coming?

It’s the scheduling that works well with these things when we’re locked down. The regularity. Sideways music moments to look forward to. Who are you tuning in to?

Lockdown Week 5. As predicted, no wall-of-metal soundtracks to block out the noise when working, because work ain’t happening. Instead, much more following of whims. The listening went something like this.

APRIL 18
Thom Yorke – The Eraser

Protomartyr – Relatives in Descent

Yorke, The Eraser: Harrowdown Hill was always a standout but the bass-shifting twitch of Black Swan is hard to beat. Forgot how strong this album is.

APRIL 19
Ministry – Rio Grande Blood

APRIL 20
Ministry – Houses of the Mole

APRIL 21
Ministry – Houses of the Mole

Ministry – The Last Sucker

(bit of a theme, this week …}

APRIL 22
Ministry – The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste

Gil Scott Heron & Makaya McCraven – We’re New Again

APRIL 23
PJ Harvey – The Hope Demolition Project

Desert Sessions Vol 11 and 12
Gil Scott Heron & Makaya McCraven – We’re New Again

APRIL 24
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – Viscerals

New Ministry track, Alert Level

Stay safe, keep the music ON!

Previous Lockdown Music – Week 4

LOCKDOWN MUSIC: WEEK 4 – ROLLINS

NEED A LOYAL MUSICAL COMPANION? Load up The Cool Quarantine, one of the best – and literally the longest – strips of Pure Listening Pleasure the lockdown has given us. Punk and post-punk orientations, precision anecdotes, rare bootlegs and more musical minutiae than you could hurl a Damned acetate at, it’s Henry Rollins doing what he does best: fanatic-ing about music. Great company. I took a couple of chunks out of it this week (while reading Stay Fanatic!!!) and still have major chewing to do.

Among the first-class oldies/rarities heard so far are Hendrix, Minor Threat, Led Zeppelin live 1977, Joy Division’s first EP, The Panic, the Stains, the Fall and loads more, but it’s the links and fanboy enthusiasm that really brings these records to life. Best of the new sounds so far? Lair of the Minotaur. Primal thuggery gone wild.

***just saw that episode 2 has just gone up***.

So. What’s the point of this post? Not sure, really. Documenting the home-based times through music, I guess. Continuity, stability, getting a few words down, sharing music tips. If it gets tedious, we’ll end it. In the meantime, week 4.

APRIL 11
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – Viscerals
Huntsmen – Mandala of Fear, disc 1

APRIL 12
Radio day

APRIL 13
Ministry – Dark Side of the Spoon
Sunn O))) – White 1
Ministry, Dark Side: How insane is Supermanic Soul? And how far beyond heavy is that second guitar riff? Like Animositisomina last week, Dark Side of the Spoon sounds as vital as ever, despite the deteriorating health and relations of the people who made it. Never understood why this album and Filth Pig get middling/bad reviews. This is bold stuff. Industrial metal corroded, sinking in a toxic swamp.

APRIL 14
Algiers – There is No Year
Henry Rollins – Cool Quarantine radio

APRIL 15
Killing Joke – Pylons, bonus disc

APRIL 16
REM – Accelerate
Tool – Fear Inoculum
Black Midi – Schlagenheim

APRIL 17
Kamasi Washington – The Epic, disc 1
Bossk – I
Dead Cross – Dead Cross
Henry Rollins – Cool Quarantine radio
Cool Quarantine: St Vitus recorded at a house party in 1982??? YES. Audio like this puts you right there. It’s as close to time travel you can get.

Stay safe, keep the music ON!

Previous Lockdown Music –  Week 3

LOCKDOWN MUSIC: WEEK 3

Lockdown music
Caught in a trap
No turnin’ back
Lockdown music

This is why we call it Lockdown Music – so you can sing it to Sister Sledge and feel good.

Speaking of things to make you feel good, who wrote the best metal album of all time, Metallica or Slayer? Check the link later on for a music mag feature that thrashes out (sorry) that very issue in a lockdown special.

In the meantime, more adventures in home-bound hi fi.

APRIL 4
No albums … Saturday. Radio all day, BBC 6 Music.

APRIL 5
Ministry – Animositisomina

Maaaaan, that was a well-chosen revisit. Bill Rieflin’s passing has prised open a Ministry hole and it’s been years since this 2003 ace got an airing. Good era. The mid-tempo swamp-industrial years: Filth Pig, Dark Side of the Spoon, Animositisomina. Though not packing the fireworks of earlier albums, it grows from track to track and may even peak at the very end with Impossible, Stolen and Leper. More Ministry revisits will follow, no doubt.

APRIL 6
Prince – Lovesexy
Clutch – Strange Tales from the West
Discharge – Hear Nothing, See Nothing Say Nothing
Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts V

Discharge, Hear Nothing: Brutal, relentless. If you need a proper system cleanse, this’ll flush your toxins.

APRIL 7
The Huntsmen – Mandala of Fear, disc 2
Ministry – Animositisomina (last three tracks)

New Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs album Viscerals landed today from Piccadilly Records, Manchester. Nice one, Piccadilly. Local heroes Truck Store have ceased mail order because of coronavirus so I sent my money back up north to a landmark of my youth. Top service.

Just heard about Henry Rollins’s internet-only radio show, The Cool Quarantine. Four hours of music and stories, unfiltered. Definitely going to check that.

Oh yeah, got furloughed by work today. So, listening will change next week. When working at home, you need music as a barrier – which is why a lot of metal/punk has figured lately. It blocks the world out. Listening quantity will soon be reduced, but more selective.

APRIL 8
Devin Townsend – Deconstruction
Ministry – Filth Pig

Deconstruction has a song called Pandemic. Metal histrionics and machine-gun beats. Of course.

APRIL 9
Henry Rollins, The Cool Quarantine radio show

Loaded the show and listened to the first 40 minutes while reading Stay Fanatic!!! High energy raconteur radio, inspiring stuff. Am making notes of tracks/bands to follow up, go find it through KCRW.

APRIL 10
Kamasi Washington – The Epic, discs 2 and 3
1349 – The Infernal Pathway

This popped up on the Quietus: Low Culture 2. Master of Puppets versus Reign in Blood. Pure indulgence from the writer so bear that in mind, but who’s your money on?

Stay safe, keep the music ON!

previous: Lockdown Music Week 2