BEAT CITY 64 – Dry City (Sleeve Notes)

You can download Beat City 64 here

KITTEN “Fall On Me”

Like Blondie before them its easy to see Kitten being marketed as simply a pseudonym for their easy-on-the-eye lead singer Chloe Chaidez, and the ease with which the other band members (Kittenblokes?) have left then rejoined only to leave again would seem to bear this out in the case of Kitten.

The official band bio from a few years ago smacks of artifice, to be honest, namechecking all the correct hip names – Bowie, Zeppelin, Pet Shop Boys, My Bloody Valentine, Prince, Notorious B.I.G, hey that’s all the demographics covered, right guys?

So it would be very easy indeed to take the piss then dismiss.

But then you hear the bloody songs – by Christ, this is a great pop band. There’s a huge wall of sound backing the new single “Fall On Me”

Don’t be expecting any ad campaigns proclaiming “Kitten Is A Group” any time soon though.

This is from their first album from 2014 – it ain’t bad, but if “Fall On Me” is anything to go by the next album will be immense.

PRESS TO MECO “Family Ties”

There’s a few decent punky bands around at the moment and three of them – Croydon’s Press To Meco, Wakefield’s allusondrugs and Stockport’s Max Raptor – are heading out on a 16-date tour all over the UK from Feb 22nd culminating in a gig at London’s legendary Borderline venue.

Scuzz Throwdown Tour UK Dates

“Family Ties” is taken from Press To Meco’s excellent debut album “Good Intent”, as is this track “Manipulate”.

THEE VERTIGOS “Dry City”

“Dry City is taken from Thee Vertigos’ album “Shades” which is well worth your attention IMHO – another album that was lost a little bit in the pre-Xmas rush.

This is another track from it called “Matador”.

BLOSSOMS “At Most A Kiss”

Sal’s Indietastic Classic for this show is from the well-thought-of Blossoms from Stockport. By mixing a bit of dreamy psychey layered guitars but retaining the hard edge and – most importantly, as always – the tunes – they’re making a determined bid for that middle ground between the landfill guitar bands on the one hand and the likes of Temples and Cheatahs on the other.

2016 could be a great year for them – they’re headlining their biggest tour to date throughout February and March but you’ll have to be quick #nextbigthing

THE RAVEONETTES “This World Is Empty (Without You)”

Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo are The Raveonettes, who we’ve always loved here in Beat City – so much so that we named the blog and podcast after the first Ravs track we ever heard, back in the heady days of 2002. Used to use it as the theme tune to the podcast. May well do again some day, who knows?

In all honesty the last album was a bit sketchy – its always difficult to change a template that’s served you well over seven albums but this single definitely breaks the mould, at least instrumentally as it contains none of their trademark echoey buzzsaw guitar wall of sound.

I currently really like this track but time will tell whether that’s just because of the novelty.

FUMACA PRETA “La Trampa”

The band consists of Brighton-dwellers Stuart Carter and James Porch (of funk outfit The Grits) together with Alex Figueira, the Venezuelan-Portuguese founder of the Music With Soul record label and owner of Amsterdam’s Vintage Voudou record shop.

“La Trampa” is taken from the band’s forthcoming second album which is due out in April. Check out Beat City #75 for further tracks. The band did an interview with the excellent Now Then magazine which you can find here:

Fumaca Preta interview

… and this is a very raw track from the first album “Fumaca Preta” which you can buy direct from the band’s website for a fiver. Bargain!

Give Fumaca Preta money in return for great music here

DILLY DALLY “Ballin’ Chain” (from tha album “Sore”)

Like a Riot Grrrl Pixies, unreconstructed nineties indie noise from Toronto’s Dilly Dally, who have annoyingly just completed a tour of the UK but will be back in May for The Great Escape in Brighton.

Here’s another track from the album “Desire” which to be honest I’m now wishing I’d included instead of “Ballin’ Chain”, doh!

INDY DIBONG “Na So E Dey” (from the album “Squatting At Neverland”)

Indy Dibong is better known outside his native Cameroon than he is at home, which probably comes of living and working in France. A longtime collaborator of Tony Allen (Fela Kuti collaborator and co-creator of the Afrobeat sound) his album “Squatting At Neverland” contains a tribute to Allen, without whom according to Indy , he would not have had a music career.

THE DRINK “Microsleep” (from the album “Company”)

The opening track from The Drink’s first proper album “Company”.

Like many bands their live performance takes it to another level, the set opening with some excellent if standard 80’s Sarah-records influenced indie but somewhere towards the middle of the gig a switch is flicked and singer/songwriter/guitarist Dearbhla Minogue starts making with the highlife and Irish folk riffs, and then the grunge guitar shredding, all while the the rock-solid rhythm section of drummer Daniel Fordham and David Stewart on bass never misses a beat and keeps it all danceable.

Definitely a band to catch live if you can. Check out this very early live version of “Playground” from the new album – sound quality isn’t the best but if gives you an idea of what a powerful live act The Drink are.

ULVER “Moody Stix” (from the album “ATGCLVLSSCAP”)

The title of Norwegian black-metallers Ulver’s new album is an acronym of the twelve signs of the zodiac (starting with Aries and Taurus and ending with Aquarius and Pisces)
Ulver (which means “wolves” in Norwegian) were founded by vocalist (“singer” is probably not quite an accurate description) Kristoffer Rygg in 1993.

Their debut album Bergtatt, was classic folklore-influenced black metal, but since then they have continued to evolve and blend noise, rock and electronica with the symphonic and chamber music traditions to create a unique sound.

Also from the new unpronounceable album, this is “Glammer Hammer”

ANDERSON.PAAK “Heart Don’t Stand A Chance” (from the album “Malibu”)

Growing on me daily, this is fast approaching the status of this year’s “To Pimp A Butterfly”

BIG UPS “National Parks”

From their forthcoming album “Before A Million Universes” Big Ups describe themselves as nerdcore post-punkers but I think there’s a slight possibility they may be taking the piss. To these ears they sound like dEUS – that is to say, early dEUS which is of course the best dEUS.

If Big Ups continue in this vein then the new LP could yet be a better dEUS album than dEUS can make these days. Can’t wait!

PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING “Korolev” (from the “Sputnik / Korolev” EP)

This track, while conceptually in line with PSB’s second album “The Race For Space” harks back (sonologically speaking) to their debut “The War Room” EP, possibly on account of the subject matter.

Sergei Korolev was a Soviet rocket scientist who led the development of, among other things, cruise missiles during the thirties. It was Korolev who pionered the ideas and design of orbital satellites, and fought hard for these ideas to be turned into reality, including culminating in the Sputnik series of unmanned vessels and cuminating in the first manned spaceflight in 1961.

Korolev was living on borrowed time, however, having spent ten years in a Gulag labour camp in the Thirties and Forties under Stalin’s “Great Purge”, and he suffered a series of heart attacks, the first in December 1960, until his death in 1966.

Before his death he was often referred to only as “The Chief Designer”, because the Soviet leadership feared that the United States would send agents to assassinate him.[7] Only many years later was he publicly acknowledged as the lead man behind Soviet success in space.

THE CURST SONS “The Jumping Flea”

According to Americana UK the biggest appeal of The Curst Sons is ” they manage to stay true to American folk musics rich lineage, while throwing in enough curve balls to piss off the folk puritanicals”.

Their sixth album “Bad Sex And Good Whisky” is out in February and promises to be a belter. From it, this is “May Day”

Next week – look, I know I promised some Trembling Bells this week but there’s only so much I can squeeze into an hour. Next week for sure. Also Savages and Tuff Love and some records that I haven’t even heard yet!

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Fay Fife Fo Fum – The Rezillos live 07/06/14

Half an hour into the Rezillos’ set, a mosh pit is forming.

By my reckoning the total age of the drunk,bald and balding middle-aged men in the mosh pit is close to four figures.

I can’t believe we’re all still here and still (knees allowing) pogoing. Soon it will be the fiftieth anniversary of punk. Think about THAT for a minute
Back in ’77, The Rezillos … stood out. It sounded punky. But the singing was different. They used to have a Dalek on stage. They had boy/girl singers. They sang in Scottish.

John Peel played their debut single Can’t Stand My Baby to death on his show and it was GREAT. A bit different from the snarling of the first wave of punk bands to hit.

The support tonight is the immaculately named Dick Venom & The Terrortones. A rocky, horror-influenced noise, and a Rocky Horror influenced frontman giving it loads. We love you, Dick.

The Rezillos love doing this and being here and the original cartoony, kitschy concept of the band means they can bridge the years quite easily.

Of the original band, bassist William Mysterious is no longer with us and principal songwriter and guitarist Jo Callis was recruited by the Human League after the original band split in 1978, but original drummer Angel Patterson remains and as long as the band’s faces Eugene Reynolds and his wraparound sunglasses and Fay Fife (greatest joke name ever – “Where are you from?” “Ah’m fae Fife”) are up front then it doesn’t matter who’s on stage with them.

In fact, I ended up on stage with them myself after a particularly big crowd surge. It was that or fall over and I chose safety and brief rock and roll stardom. The band didn’t seem to mind. Things may have gone differently if it was Kevin Rowland or John Lydon up front…

It very briefly flashed through my mind that this is how Chas Smash of Madness and Bex from Happy Mondays got started, and I contemplated staying up there and having a dance but bottled it. Sigh.

The new tunes they played were surprisingly great. No deviation from the template here, Take Me To The Groovy Room, another one whose name I didn’t catch and the and ??? as well as recent single No.1 Boy :

Excellent nostalgic gig. Yeah, the sound wasn’t perfect. Yeah, they’re getting on a bit now – but then down in the mosh pit so are us middle-aged dreamers, dreaming of our youth when we had a bit of fire in our bellies where now we just have 40-plus years’ worth of beer there.

Beats the hell out of growing old gracefully.

You can hear a couple of old Rezillos tracks, and a live version of the new track Take Me To The Groovy Room on this week’s Beat City podcast here:

www.beatcity.podomatic.com

Also includes tracks from the new albums by …

The Moulettes …

Kate Tempest …

and Lee “Scratch” Perry …

And a themed section involving songs about the finest of all the fruits

Public Image Limited, Bristol Academy

The Boy Looked At Johnny (1977)

There was this awkward, shy, Asian lad from South London.

He lived in an area where there were at best three or four non-white families and while he was growing up he was subject to regular racially-based jollity from the less tolerant neighbours and occasional threatened violence.

He was a pretty good runner so managed to avoid it becoming actual violence though 8=)

1976/77 was an awkward time to look different in London. The National Front was on the rise. (For younger readers, they were like the British National Party only they didn’t really bother to try to appear respectable)

They were gaining massive ground, certainly in London where at one point an opinion poll gave them 20% of the vote.

There was also this youth movement going on, based on some loud, fast guitar-based music people called punk rock.

The major figures (as far as this boy was concerned) were The Clash and the Sex Pistols.

The Clash released a song called “White Riot”, which on casual listening seemed to have troublesome lyrics that were certainly not intended by the song’s writers.

The Sex Pistols didn’t seem to be as political as The Clash, but they rocketed to national infamy after swearing on live teatime television.

The people who liked these bands dressed very strangely – torn jeans, weird,menacing haircuts and the occasional swastika.

The National Front saw this, and made certain assumptions about punks. The boy was a bit worried about this, although he loved the music. There were reports of the NF infiltrating gigs to try and recruit.

Then two things happened. The singer of the Clash introduced their version of the reggae classic “Police And Thieves” song on stage with the words

“This is a song written by a wog, and anyone who doesn’t like wogs can fuck off”.

And in the run-up to the local elections, the lead singer of the Sex Pistols, a skinny, gobby, weird looking fucker called Johnny Rotten, whose quotes in the press and on TV mainly consisted of snarly put-downs and pisstaking, said the following about the National Front

“How can anyone vote for something so ridiculously inhuman?”

A clear, clear statement from the punk movement’s main figure that the racists were not cool.

Now this may not sound like a big deal in an era when anti-racism in all musicians is taken for granted, but believe me, back then it really meant something

The boy looked at Johnny and said “thanks mate”.

Part Two – The Man Looked At John (2012)

“Hello Bristol. Country Life. Do you want to see my knob of butter?”

John Lydon comes in for a lot of stick, some of it perhaps justified.

I know all about the butter adverts – but I can’t really complain about people “selling out” when I am currently working on a contract for a insurance company.

And the Pistols never claimed to be communists, did they?

And the stuff in the jungle on “I’m A Celebrity” was brilliant. I still maintain the old bugger walked out because he realised he was in danger of winning and becoming a National Treasure.

I’ve deliberately stayed away from the various Sex Pistols nostalgia-fests. Some things are best left in the past.

But Public Image Limited are a different matter. From the start, they were different, as far as you could get from the expected “John’s punk band” when the Pistols imploded.

Always managed to miss seeing them live though until this evening. I’m far more excited about it than a man of my age should be, strictly speaking.

PiL start with “This Is Not A Love Song” and within a couple of numbers its clear where the inspiration comes from – this is basically a white rock band playing with a dub reggae sensibility. Scotty’s concrete piledriver bass is an excellent rendition of Jah Wobble’s work on “Public Image” and “Metal Box”. What really gets me is how bloody danceable this all is – in ’79 you wouldn’t have DANCED to Albatross, but tonight it’s impossible not to.

PiL play for two hours, and for once, an old band playing the songs from the new album is if anything better than the greatest hits.

“Reggie Song”, “Deeper Water”, “One Drop” and “Lollipop Opera” (below) are all instant classics, fitting in seamlessly with the back catalogue.

If the gig has a low point – and in two hours this is inevitable – its some of the late eighties stuff where the band went all stadium rock. I do like “Rise” but I’m bemused that it gets the biggest reception of the evening.

Highlight for me is a powerful extended version of “Religion II” with blood-red stage lighting giving the impression of a church – a scary memory for all lapsed Catholic boys, on stage and off.

“Thirty years and you’re still scared of me. I am your friend. Your special friend.”

PiL were a long way ahead of their time, so they never really got the major recognition they deserved – and it always looked to nme as if Lydon was too concerned with being the outsider to play the game and clean up financially – and you have to respect that, I think.

Only in the past ten years, with record deals hard to come by and careering into middle age, has he mellowed to the point where he appears on TV and radio shows

He’s still prepared to play Johnny Rotten (see his recent appearance on Question Time). I didn’t watch it, to be honest – I didn’t need to, I knew exactly what he’d do and I was too busy listening to the new album.
Awesome evening, well pleased, and if my other Catholic musical hero can deliver as much next year I will probably be able to die a happy man.

No, I don’t mean Boy George.