MILES OF ECHO: Chris Cornell

INTO THE VOID… NO SUCH THING

Face Pollution. Played on the radio this morning by Mary Anne Hobbs… emotional stuff, can’t explain why this one did it. Other Soundgarden tracks have been played in the two days since we heard the news, and Chris Cornell has been an ever-present thought. Not every track affects you, but the fact that one of them – any of them – pulls out a physical response tells you that yes, this band or artist is one of the ones that really matters. You knew that anyway. But a shock loss means you know it in a different way now.

Soundgarden. A truly rare band, a truly SPECIAL band, and if you got them…well, they got you, and this is why we’re all a little fucking knocked this week. Chris Cornell died?

The music that that band made was almost too good. By far the most inventive of the scene they sparked, their records are flawless, beguiling, hypnotic and untouchable. Loud Love was my first exposure, when the video was on Raw Power (legendary small-hours TV, aka Power Hour/Raw Power/Raw/Noisy Mothers) and its sticky, gluey, dank heaviness part-crawled/part-raged from the screen. It was a new sound. Louder Than Love became the initiation record, and that’s when the Soundgarden fandom started, some 27 years ago. No wonder Face Pollution did a bit of a number on me this morning.

But this week, it’s been the less familiar and the non-Soundgarden that’s crept into play as a tribute. Music that’s a little less long-standing as far as personal music history goes  Echo of Miles, Cornell’s Carry On, Audioslave’s Revelations  but, having said that, here are two exceptional tracks that DO go way back….one familiar, one maybe less so:

Nowhere But You: this B-side from the Can’t Change Me single says everything about Cornell the musician, songwriter, lyricist and arranger, playing with a painter’s vision. Stripped, haunting, intense – hear it here.

Seasons: from the Singles soundtrack (expanded 25th anniversary version out yesterday… timing?). Remind yourself, and while you’re at it, marvel again at both voice and band in Soundgarden’s Birth Ritual.

Check BBC 6 Music for Cornell specials at 1am and at 6pm (Tom Robinson Mow Playing) on Sunday 21st May, #Cornell6Music 

Not much more to say, still blindsided by the strangeness of it all but let’s hope, for the sake of Cornell’s family, that his departure was accidental. It seems hard to believe there was clear-minded intent. 

The last words go to Perry Farrell, who said it best:

“A shining voice in music has left us in the midnight. He was a complex and gentle soul #ChrisCornell has flown into the black hole sun”

A shining voice in music. Damn right.

Soundgarden: Hyde Park 2014

Superunknown in full: Hyde Park 2014

image from everyrecordtellsastory

At David & i

BOWIE PHOTOGRAPHER EXHIBITS IN NORTH OXFORD. MINI PROPS A BONUS

Managed to get a ticket to the Oxford showing of the David & i exhibition, which was on Wednesday night.

Which David?

Bowie, of course. Which i?

That’ll be Denis O’Regan, David Bowie’s official photographer for around ten years through the 80s and you WILL have seen some of his pics, no question. The blonde years, the megastar years, the critically revered… OK, but by capturing the Serious Moonlight and Glass Spider tours, O’Regan definitely got BOWIE: THE HEALTHY YEARS on film. And to see 40 such images – all approved by Bowie – is to Watch That Man and celebrate his life, regardless of era.

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Catalogue and Melbourne Carousel, 1983

How has this happening come about? Promoted by Off Beat Lounge, the David & i exhibition has been out on tour visiting select Mini-supported locations, ie Mini showrooms. Funny that. Works well though, nice and light with all those showroom windows.

Bowie and green Mini

How did that happen? Bowie test drives Mini

In the Q&A session at the start of the night, O’Regan said that it was seeing Ziggy Stardust that made him want to be a photographer. A few years later, he was taking pics of the punk bands – easy access, no Rock Star Barriers – and got a job with the NME, and the first official photos he took of Bowie were up in Newcastle City Hall in 1978. He somehow wound up being official photographer on the Serious Moonlight tour a few years later.

Some gig, eh?

Other mini (sorry) nuggets from David & i:

  • O’Regan hates heights and categorically won’t do photography from up yonder scaffold, but is fine in a helicopter without doors (he can’t explain it either).
  • Bowie would try any food.
  • O’Regan would dispose of hundreds of images that Bowie never even saw. When asked one day – by Bowie – about what happened to them, Denis said he just put them in the bin. In his hotel room. Got a major tom-bollocking for that one.
  • The last photos he took of Bowie were in 1994 (I think), when Bowie had a tiny tiny beard. He didn’t say if it was the beard wot ended it, though.

So, even though the O’Regan prints are well out of reach – need a few hundred quid to make that leap, hallo spaceboy – it was a pretty cool thing for a Bowie fan to wander around and get immersed in for an evening. Go along next time there’s one going.

links:

 

 

 

ALT 90s RADIO HOUR

KYUSS, DARKTHRONE, SLINT AND MORE: 6 MUSIC SPECIAL

What’s this? Demon Cleaner by Kyuss is the opening track of a Freakier Zone 90s spesh?

GET. IN. Who’d have thought that Maconie would go anywhere near Gar-Homm Bjo-Ree’s desert rumble, unique though it is? Not as though he shuns the heavy and the extreme, far from it, it’s just that their downtuned wide open riffology lacks the fusion prog ecperimental thing that tends to make the FZ tracklist … Kyuss just rock, but in a way that no-one else ever did: a band that make you FEEL it every damn time. True behemoths of the pre-millennial decade.

So yeah, they start the hour, and in their dusty trail are benchmark 90s names like Darkthrone and Slint, plus other notables from the avant end of the alternative Souls at Zero-era Neurosis, Scott Walker on a Tilt, you get the gist. Do I hear…21? 21? 21? Sure do.

Check the show right here. Not as extreme as the Greg Anderson playlist from a few weeks back – no Mortician for starters (what???) or Asschapel (fair enough) – but it’s a solid hour for exploratory rock heads, and the following day’s Freak Zone looks at IDM with Warp Records and Artificial Intelligence (all part of the My Generation: the 1990s thing at the beeb/6 Music –  worth a dig, there are stacks of programmes that swerve well clear of unplugged Live Forever sheee-ITE from 1994. And plenty that really, really don’t).

THE NINETIES. Formative music years over here, and sure to inform future reviews… what about you?

 

Greg AndersonO))) on 6 Music

After watching Bowie’s Last Five Years documentary on Saturday night, what could lift the late-night mood a notch above a re-opened Low?

Ermmm….death metal and midnight hardcore curated by a robed dronehead? Well, that was the tonic for anyone who fell into Stuart Maconie’s Freakier Zone Saturday night, aka zero-hundred hours SunnO)))day morning, because the Southern Lord Greg Anderson pulled together an hour’s mandatory cross-genre listening, much like his grimm-brother Stephen O’Malley did a year or so back on a Freakzone sit-in.

Tune in and you too can laugh along with Mortician, get blasted by Bolzer’s epic death metal and then feel the brutal burn of Anderson’s re-connector with the underground, His Hero is Gone OMG (band) rage, for sure – though as you’d expect, it’s not all hardcore death mongery in these here 60 minutes: Erik B and Rakim, Ice Cube, John Carpenter and Big | Brave all figure as well.

As do Asschapel (what????)

Anyway, CHECK THE GREG ANDERSON HOUR RIGHT NOW before it effs off forever. ’tis time very well spended.

And if you need further on-air lo-frequency shake action, bugger me if the stupendous Sunn O)) & Boris collaboration ain’t the featured album on the Sunday night F-zone – worship at THAT Altar, ‘specially the disintegration tremor-fest that is Etna. H-u-g-e. Elsewhere in the same ‘zone there’s Wayne Coyne, Godspeed, Miles and long-form Floyd (Embryo, BBC session version)…. not a bad Sunday, right?

Hairy Halloween

Last year we took in a few soundtracks and noir-funk jazz scores to make a break from any metallicus extremicus noise stuff. This year, we’re going for the retro metal sound: mostly classic bands from the late ’80s or thereabouts, a bit of a slasher vibe, a bit of ‘remember that?’ in 11 (yes) tracks. WARNING: hair metal is on this list, no apologies.

DOKKEN: Mr Scary

Big hair kick-off? Too right. George Lynch had one of THE guitar tones of the 80s, a tone that would sit on any commercial horror of the day (maybe that’s why they did Dream Warriors for Nightmare on Elm Street 3) but this heavy instrumental from Back for the Attack is a shock for anyone who missed it, thinking that Dokken were nowt but hair and teeth. Well, they ARE hair and teeth, but Mr Lynch’s Mr Scary is a scorching exception and a horror-themed must.

OZZY OSBOURNE: Suicide Solution (live version from Tribute)

Can there be a rock voice more suited to Halloween than Ozzy’s doleful projections? Doubtful. But this live version (can’t find it on youtube) does more than showcase Ozzy – as the album title says, it’s a Randy Rhoads gig and the Suicide Solution solo has enough stuttermoanandscreech to commune with the undead any time of the year.

MEGADETH: Go to Hell

Snarling sneering wavy Davy, so Mustainey. Lost on a Bill and Ted OST, Go to Hell makes the list because it’s not overplayed, it’s literally hellish and it’s got one of those thrash-sinister vids that captures the right atmos – low sophistication and max impact, just like the flicks we’ve already mentioned. Bit weird. Decent tune. Exhume.

JANE’S ADDICTION: Ted, Just Admit It

Right, we’ve had George Lynch and Dave Mustaine, but what connects them? Dave Navarro (yep) – they both appeared on Navarro’s guitar tutor videos online (well worth a look, ‘specially to see Dave N fail to master Dave M’s admittedly awesome spider-chord) – and so we might as well have a bit of Jane’s … might as well have Ted, Just Admit It. Detached and creepy and wrapped in Ted Bundy, it erupts as violently as the lyrics: art shocker. What a band.

CARCASS: Incarnated Solvent Abuse

Video. Black rubber. That’s all I’m saying, scared the shite outta ma younger self. Weirdly disturbing and low-budget effective, it’s a grindsome tempo shift with a guitar tone to die for. Or be suffocated by.

CELTIC FROST: Rex Irae (Requiem)

Haunting theatrics abound on 1987’s cold bold foray Into the Pandemonium, and none more than Rex Irae (Requiem) here as a half-dead sounding Tom G trades lines with afterlife siren Claudia-Maria Mokri over heavyweight orchestration. 

DANZIG: Soul on Fire

Evil Elvis, Fonzig, whatever he’s been called he’s definitely a singer with a fine bag o’ween pipes, and there’s enough demon, possession and Samhain refs for some proper rocking out on All Hallows’ Eve. Not spooky, but it’s Danzig, right? It just fits. Got the attitude. In fact, you might as well just play the whole album from Twist of Cain right through to Evil Thing. 

MOTORHEAD: Nightmare/The Dreamtime

The least-Motorhead track Motorhead ever did, except for the one that named the album that this track came from (1916). Semi-ambient, drumless, bassy, keyboardy and loaded with Lem-menace thanks to a fistfulla backwards masking (sign o’ the times). Golgotha, ace of spades, damn right.

METALLICA: The Small Hours

Check that opening. Tension? Ominosity? Double yes, that’s the soundtrack to Stalkerville Central and it’s backed by a predatory proto-grunge riff lurching outta the shadows of 1987. Still haven’t heard the original, mind.

MELVINS WITH JELLO BIAFRA: In Every Dream Home a Heartache

Hunter S Thompson said that when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. Melvins have been pro all their lives, but on Everybody Loves Sausages they went for Roxy Music at their creepiest and outcreeped it by letting Jello Biafra do the vocals. Not only does he sound uncannily like Bryan Ferry – true, hear it here – but, being Biafra, he ups the sinisterism without even trying. Oh, and it’s heavy as a bastard as well.

WHITESNAKE: Still of the Night

Go on, HAVE IT! Light relief with ace riffs. He hears the wolf howl (honey), sniffing around your door. Here’s the tune, but if you want the video for an old-time’s laff….

Not cool enough? Seriously? Then here’s a lawless screamer to bang a final nail in a hairsome Halloween playlist before you load up a classic late-night film… Prince of Darkness, anyone?

 

 

Warsaw music tour

Record shops: two words that make a perfect pair. Always much more than spaces that sell music, record shops become spiritual Rough Guides in any town or city but especially when you go abroad. Map out a route of record shops and you’re already exploring. Track ’em down and your footwork orients you in your temporary new land: those stores become your compass, your inter-national grid, your urban ley lines.

But you need a start point so, remembering that one of his LA Weekly missives was about a trip to Warsaw, I checked the Henry Rollins LA archive and got the name of recommended shop #1. Add a DIY search online, grab a tip from some Warsaw insiders and lo, we have a short list. Time was nearly as short as the list so this summary is neither exhaustive nor extensive, but for the muso-fan Warsaw first-timer, it might just offer that all-too-crucial start.

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Find the Muzant sign and you find nothing. It’s all subterranea, see. You gotta descend, into a basement emporium of 2nd-hand CDs, records, videos and music-related gear. Do it. Good prices, high browse potential, spot on for back-catalogue gap fills across all genres. 

Q: Where is Muzant record shop?  A: Warecka 4/6

Asfalt
By far the coolest – and by that I mean, should I even be in here? – of the record shops today is Asfalt, a retail offshoot of the Asfalt hip-hop record label. Which probably explains why it feels too cool for neanderthalian guitar excess, but it’s an immaculate find. Step in off the street and you see a black-trim cafe bar with a nightclub vibe. Good coffee. Look up the stairs and there’s the store: small, clean, new and packed with vinyl. Not much in the way of rock, and even less much approaching METAL, but experimental-ish types get a look in, there’s a tonne of funk and jazz and, of course, a formidable array of hip hop, beats and electronica. 

Q: Where is Asfalt record shop?  A: Kredytowa 9

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The online forum gave the address as Tamka Street, but Vinyl Tamka has moved to Chmielna 20, dead near the city centre. The doorway is 7-inch plastered so you’re in no doubt that This Place Does Records, and inside you’ve got a vinyl-heavy selection. Plenty of rock, prog, pop, metal, jazz and beyond, and a stack of rarities and special editions showcased on the walls.

Q: Where is Vinyl Tamka record shop?  A: In the courtyard, Chmielna 20

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I mentioned Rollins at the start, and this shop is the reason – you can check HR’s write-up here. Narrow is the word: one aisle, left-to-right/front-to-back vinyl, two-way traffic on a single-track road. Loaded with flickability.

Q: Where is Hey Joe record shop?  A: Zlota 8

For the record (sorry), these are all worth finding and Hey Joe warrants a revisit by itself, but if there was one store calling me back that day, it was Asfalt – something to do with the label, the aesthetic and the sheer new-ness of it all. To go back and plunge into some unknown deep-cuts funk or gamble on a pristine cassette near the counter just kinda felt right. 

So, we did go back to Asfalt the next day. Saturday, 10am. 

It was shut. OK, no probs, come back two hours later. Still shut. EH??? Word was that the Asfalt bods had done a festival the night before and so hadn’t made it to the store yet…

I said I wasn’t cool enough, didn’t I?

Good coffee, though. Again.

TUNELESS IN WARSAW 

Julian Cope on 6 Music

ARCH DRUDE IN FOR IGGY POP

We’ve had some stellar radio stand-ins on 6 Music for Jarvis Cocker of late, and this week we get the Arch Drude packing the Iggy Confidential slot on Friday 22nd, 7pm, for two hours of psychedelia – a must-listen, surely. Who knows what qualifies as psychedelic in Cope’s hefty book – I mean, Sleep’s Dopesmoker DEFINITELY, though that ain’t gonna make it onto a two-hour Friday night trip – but we may well get sunburned freak outs, acid fry-ups and sunnO)))shine daydreams cocktailed with the likes of Roky Erikson, Sky Saxon, Can, early Floyd and prime Love.

Floyd and Love have gotta be a cert for the playlist surely, because they’ve inspired and named Cope’s location-free festival that’s happening Right Now, every day this month, wherever YOU are:

SydArthur Festival

Buddhist appropriation entirely intended, SydArthur is a tribute to tenyearsgone Syd Barrett and Arthur Lee who passed away just 28 days apart in July/August 2006.

As ever, Cope needs little encouragement to evoke the Cosmic Order, the ancients, the gnostics and the sha-manics in rock n roll, and so the SydArthur Festival – a festival of the mind, of the head – is now a Thing on Head Heritage. Check the calendar and note that JC’s broadcast is George Clinton’s birthday. Parliafunkadelic on the playlist?

Line all of this up next to Uncut magazine’s fine fine fine Arthur Lee/Love feature last month and you can’t help but fire the Love revival machine so an in-through-the-side-door review may be on its way v soon.

Tune in Friday, turn it ON.