In this week’s blog I’ll be writing about Disco, Hardcore, Post-Punk and Noise along with some other bits and pieces.
The Art Ensemble of Chicago, People In Sorrow, 1978 Japanese reissue on Odeon. This album features and extended improvised performance by Lester Bowie, Joseph Jarman, Roscoe Mitchell and Malachi Favours Maghostut, it’s widely considered to be the outfit’s masterpiece.
Amy Winehouse, Back To Black, from 2006. Winehouse’s second and last album to be released in her short lifetime, it incorporates 60s Soul with Jazz and contemporary RnB flavours. This album catapulted her into super-stardom and really marked the beginning of her downfall as we all watched.
Tortoise, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, from 1996 on Thrill Jockey. The second album by this legendary Chicago based group of misfits and some may say the first Post-Rock album to have ever existed. The album’s title is in reference to a phrase used by Jehovah’s Witnesses in the 20s. As with all Tortoise releases it’s produced by John McEntire and features Dan Bitney, John Herndon, Doug McCombs, John McEntire and Dave Pajo.
Bjork, Debut, from 1993 on One Little Indian. Unsurprisingly this is Bjork’s debut solo album and with it she blew the minds of many with her own bombastic love of life and energy she injects (and continues to) into her music. The majority of the tracks on this album were written years prior to the album’s release, it received more critical success overseas than her label had predicted so the album has been reissued many times.
Chrome, 3rd From The Sun, from 1982 on Don’t Fall Off The Mountain label, a UK pressing. All songs written and composed by Helios Creed and Damon Edge (Thomas Wisse). Chrome were early pioneers of the Industrial Rock sound.
The Stupid Set/Marconi Connection, Rangoon Patrol/Heart of State, Italian pressing from 1981 on MMMH Records. “Totally mental Post-Punk Disco Noise” says it all really.
PJ Harvey, The Peel Sessions 1991-2004, from 2006 on Island Records. From Polly Jean’s liner notes “John’s opinion mattered to me. More than I would ever care to admit for fear of embarrassment to both sides, but I sought his approval always. It mattered.
Every Peel Session I did, I did FOR HIM. It is with much love that I chose these songs, in his memory. A way of saying ‘Thank You’, one more. ‘Thank You John'”
Monofonic Orchestra, Music Design, on Italian Records from 1981.
B.G.K., Nothing Can Go Wrongn!, Dutch Hardcore on Alternative Tentacles from 1986. This is the second and last release from Balthasar Gerards Kommando in 1986.
Art Fleury, I Luoghi Del Potere, 1980 Italian original on Italian Records from 1980. Pressed on white vinyl. From Brescia this group are considered avantgarde despite releasing their albums during the new wave era. This copy comes with the original sticker still affixed to the front.
Various Artists, No Big Business, compilation of obscure synth, post-punk, new wave and the like on Kleo from 1981, Belgian pressing. Features a number of artists including The Scabs, Siglo XX, De Minz, Spermicide and The Motives.
Steve Reich, Music For 18 Musicians, a 1978 German original pressing on ECM Records. Composed and performed from 1974 to 1976 its world premiere was on April 24, 1976 at The Town Hall in New York City. Reich mentions that although the piece is named Music for 18 Musicians, it is not necessarily advisable to perform the piece with that few players due to the extensive doubling it requires. The sections are named “Pulses”, and Section I-XI. This was Reich’s first attempt at writing for larger ensembles. An important factor in the piece is the use of human breath, used in the clarinets and voices, which help structure and bring a pulse to the piece.
Shandileer, Disco Queen, 1979 original from Barbados on Crazy Music. Ronnie McIntosh’s only release under this name Disco Queen this LP delivers absolutely everything you could possibly want from a Disco album.
Lastly this week are these two Blind Melon CDs. There’s nothing rare about these CDs I just feel that Blind Melon and these two albums in particular are hugely underrated. They were mostly known for their 1992 “hit” No Rain and then somewhat shriveled into obscurity as Shannon Hoon’s herion addiction dragged the band into a downward spiral before dying in 1995. Soup from 1995 is such a great 90s Indie album, it’s full of their wide raging influences and somewhat bizarre lyrical content. For me, it’s like no other album of that time. Nico was released in 1996 after Hoon’s death and pays beautiful tribute to the daughter Nico Blue that he left behind. The album features previously unreleased material and somewhat depressingly shows that the band were fully in their stride before he died. They would have gone on to become a very different band had Hoon not lost his battle with drug addiction. As you can see Soup comes three times more recommended than Nico but they’re both ace!
In honor of having the entire Blind Melon back catalogue on CD (this doesn’t happen often) I’ve made a Blind Melon Playlist for people who don’t know them to get familiar. It’s pure summer.
As always, a playlist of all the tracks featured in this week’s blog can be found here.