Another week rolls by… at least the sun as come out and we can all sit and sweat together in the shop. Fear not! Our air-conditioning works and you can browse with ease and not have to remark on the heat but I’m sure that 4 out of 5 people still will.
This week will be devoted to African, 90s Pop, Electronica (you’ll not catch me calling it bloody IDM) and loads more stuff for your sweaty earholes.
R.I.P Alan Vega! Suicide, Suicide, reissue of this classic 1977 LP. Produced by Craig Leon and Marty Thau, this album was recorded in just four days in New York. Upon it’s original release in 1977 Rolling Stone magazine gave the album an awful review, describing Vega’s vocals as “absolutely purile…nothing but arrogance and wholesale insensibility” but then went on to pu in on the 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time list at a later date, those dumbasses.
Swans, New Mind/Damn You To Hell/I’ll Swallow You Whole, 12″ from 1987 on Product Inc. Released prior to the album it appeared on (Children Of God) but on the album the track came in at a whole minute longer. Riveting information!
Beck, Odelay, US original pressing of this classic 90s pop beauty. On Bong Load Records from 1996 with inserts and Bong Load sticker. This album saw Beck Hansen break into the mainstream with force, it features more hit-singles that any of his other albums and will go down in history as a 90s classic. I grew up listening to this album so it will always have a very special place in my heart, thinking for years that it was a mop head on the front cover it wasn’t until later that I learned a dog with dreads existed.
The Velvet Underground, Orange Disaster, 1984 release on Clean Sound from 1984. Features rough mix demos, Ludlow Street loft demos, Max’s Kansas City rehearsals (1970), Poor Richard’s Chicago 1966 and La Cave October 2nd and 4th 1968. Pressed on orange wax. Couldn’t find any tracks on YouTube for this so here’s a track there’s a demo version of on this release.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Good Son, original UK pressing on Mute from 1990, limited edition version with 7inch and all inners. A more joyous side to Nick Cave is apparent on this album as he was deeply in love when writing all of the tracks. This is now somewhat overshadowed by the the album’s title and reference to the untimely death of Nick’s son. I went to see Sun Kil Moon this week and Mark Kozelek has written a beautiful song about Arthur’s death. It felt as if everybody in the audience were holding their breath and sitting in stunned silence at the raw emotion he was pouring into our laps.
Smashing Pumpkins, Mellon-Collie And The Infinite Sadness, Original issue from 1996, triple LP, on Virgin Records. This vinyl release features tracks that didn’t appear on the CD or cassette versions of this album. A definite shift in gear at this point in the Pumpkins’ career, James Iha and lovely D’arcy Wretzky had a bigger influence on their sound and they created an approachable and wonderfully gothy concept album with Billy Corgan’s beautiful lyricism in abundance. I once copied out large sections of this album’s lyrics as an ode to my older brother’s friend whom I had a major crush on at the time it was released, leaving it in his coat pocket I’m sure it bought him many belly laughs for weeks to come. Dork.
Chris Harwood, Nice To Meet Miss Christine, mega rare UK original on Birth Records from 1970. The only record made by Christine Harwood and disappeared into obscurity before many people had the chance to hear it. It features two covers, Wooden Ships by Crosby, Stills and Nash and Crying To Be Heard by Traffic. A beautiful Pop-Folk jewel to any collectors crown, come down and get your mitts on it before Wynton trades in some bollocksy Prog and procures it for himself. You wont be sorry.
The Black Dog, Spanners, double LP on Warp Records from 1994. Black Dog Productions, Bytes, a double LP compilation on Warp Records from 1993. The Black Dog started as a trio of souls creating glitchy super-Warp style electronics made up of Ken Downie, Ed Handly and Andy Turner. Handly and Turner went on to make Plaid (also on Warp) whilst Ken Downie continued as Black Dog. He’s since had a revolving bunch of musicians coming and going from the Black Dog labs brefore settling on Martin and Richard Dust as his “squad”. The compilation (which wont last long) features tracks from Plaid, Echo Mike, Bilal and Close Up Over.
Various Artists, Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump: Original Heavyweight Afrobeat, Highlife & Afro-Funk, 2008
Various Artists, Nigeria 70: The Definitive Story Of 1970s Funky Lagos, 2012
Various Artists, Nigeria 70: Sweet Times: Afro-Funk, Highlife & Juju From 1970s Lagos, 2011
All double LP compilations are on the Strut Label and complied by Duncan Brooker. They all feature a plethora of African goodness by the likes of Fela Kuti, Monomono, Tunde Mabadu, Eji Oyewole, Rex Williams, Eddie Okwedy and The Immortals, William Onyeabor plus loads more. It’s a great introduction into the music of 70s Africa and if you’re stuck for somewhere to start then any (or all) of these comps are a brilliant choice.
Fela Kuti & Africa 70, I Go Shout Plenty, two track wonderfulness from the Lord God King Fela! 1986 release on Afrodisia, it was re-released this year from Record Store day as a 10″. As with the majority of Kuti’s lyrics I Go Shout Plenty is in reference to Kuti’s right to raise his voice in opposition to Nigerian authorities. Everything this man made is golden, I’ve stated my love for him here many times before and shall again, if you haven’t heard Fela Kuti before then buy this, go home and fucking listen to it.
As always, a playlist version of all the tracks featured on this week’s blog can be found here.