Welcome to my blog!

UPDATE: Mediafire have suspended my account and locked my downloads. Having endured the tedium of re-uploading everything I had previously hosted on Mega Upload onto Mediafire earlier this year, I can't be arsed re-uploading everything again.

So please don't ask for things to be reuploaded!

I undertake this venture knowing that I don't have the spare time to do it, but feel that these artists NEED TO BE HEARD (please excuse my shouting!). Or is that I think I need to be heard? Or that there are (or have been) some great music blogs that have inspired me to wanna jump on the bandwagon? Probably all of the above??I hope you enjoy the blog. If I turn one person onto these bands that turned me on then it will all have been worth it!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Archers of Loaf - KEXP

After splitting in 1998, the mighty Archers of Loaf have reformed for tour dates, including this weekends Sasquatch Festival. On the way they dropped by KEXP to play live in the studio.

Archers of Loaf - 2011-05-28 - Live In-Studio On KEXP - Seattle, WA

01 [intro]
02 Harnessed In Slums
03 Bacteria
04 [interview with Stevie Zoom]
05 Dead Red Eyes
06 [banter - band movement]
07 Acromegaly
08 [outro]

Monday, May 23, 2011

Super Furry Animals – Mwng

Super Furry Animals were my favourite British band of the late 1990's. In my opinion they were the only British band prepared to follow their own noses and take risks. But in reality the competition was pretty lame. The Auteurs had given up on the then current generation and thrown in the towel. Oasis and Suede sucked, Blur had lost interest, which only left Radiohead – whose greatness was diluted by laughing boy Thom Yorke’s ability to disappear up his own anus.

The first two Super Furry Animals albums, Fuzzy Logic and Radiator, were mutant psychedelic glam-rock masterpieces. But the two albums that grabbed me most were their rarities album Outspaced, and their Welsh language album, the subject of this post, Mwng.

Mwng is almost like a side project. It was released on the bands own label, Placid Casual, after the demise of their previous label, Creation. As a consequence it received little or no promotion. It features little of the wild-assed ideas and sounds on their Creation albums, and being sung in Welsh, there is none of the overt lyrical humour of the Creation albums – though maybe that's evident if you understand Welsh? However, this is more than made up by the emergence of a hitherto unseen pastoral folk influence, and the added mystery that the Welsh lyrics conjure. Just as everything sung in French sounds sexy, everything sung in Welsh sounds like it has emerged from middle earth! Gargoyles and Goblins! 

The album kicks off with Drygioni, a one minute burst of mid-temp mutant punk that gives little indication of what's to come. Ymaelodi Â'r Ymylon is a pleasant, melodic and folky tune with great multi-track vocals. Y Gwyneb Iau has a subdued jazzy feel, complete with saxophone, while Dacw Hi is a straightforward pop song. Nythod Cacwn is folky, based around acoustic guitar and vocals. Pan Ddaw'r Wawr is a slowly building psychedelic folk hybrid. Ysbeidiau Heulog is the most like their Creation songs. It starts with a gonzoid guitar riff, developing into an infectious glam rock with a subdued psychedelic mid-section. Y Teimlad is folky and lo-fi, becoming more psychedelic as it evolves. Sarn Helen is the album’s highpoint, a spooky, folky atmospheric synthesised soundscape that would sound right at home at a middle earth pagan festival. The album ends with Gwreiddiau Dwfn/Mawrth Oer Ar y Blaned Neifion, a slowly building track built around a recurring synthesiser motif.

The American version of the album came with an extra five-track disk, Mwng Bach. Cryndod Yn Dy Lais features acoustic guitar and vocals above an atmospheric wash, before dissolving into spooky warbling. Trons Mr Urdd is another more typical Furries number with a big chorus. Calimero is a fab 2 min 20 sec blast of fast tempo punk. Sali Mali is psych-folk, while (Nid) Hon Yw'r Gân Sy'n Mynd I Achub Yr Iaith is another more mainstream Furries number, but with a (guess what?) folky edge.

Super Furry Animals – 2000 – Mwng

1. Drygioni 
2. Ymaelodi Â'r Ymylon 
3. Y Gwyneb Iau
4. Dacw Hi
5. Nythod Cacwn
6. Pan Ddaw'r Wawr
7. Ysbeidiau Heulog
8. Y Teimlad
9. Sarn Helen
10. Gwreiddiau Dwfn/Mawrth Oer Ar y Blaned Neifion

FLAC Pt1, Pt2, Pt3

Super Furry Animals – 2000 – Mwng Back

1. Cryndod Yn Dy Lais
2. Trons Mr Urdd
3. Calimero
4. Sali Mali
5. (Nid) Hon Yw'r Gân Sy'n Mynd I Achub Yr Iaith

FLAC: Pt1, Pt2

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Trouble - Self titled

I was a teenage metalhead.

Sounds like the name of a B-grade movie I know! And I denied it for about 15 years afterwards!! But now I'm totally unhip and I don't care!

When I listen now to the metal bands I used to listen to I generally cringe! And the bands that don't make me cringe don't move me at all.

There are a few exceptions, but I can count these on one hand.....hmmm, maybe two hands....but I can guarantee I don't need to remove my shoes for this exercise.....

Two exceptions have previously been featured on this blog: Sea Hags and Saigon Kick - although some will argue the latter aren't metal, while I got into the latter during the grunge era when my metal daze were done.

Speaking of metal daze, I still dig old Manowar - i.e. the first four albums. Death to false metal!! Tthough the loincloths still don't do it for me!

Another metal band I dig is the subject of this post, the mighty Trouble.

Trouble are not your average heavy metal band. They preach a positive message - none of this hot chicks, black magic or rebel without a cause bullshit. They don't rely on power chords, shred guitar solos, or any other typical, odious metal devices. Their sound revolves around the unique guitar work of guitarists Bruce Franklin and Rick Wartell, who I often (ineptly) describe as taking Thin Lizzy's melodic dual lead guitar ethos and apply it to rhythm guitar using the low notes on "detuned-to-D" guitars. The result is a deep and resonant sound with psychedelic overtones. But last, and possibly most importantly, they swing like a dog's bollocks! They hark back to a time when heavy metal was still a relative of the blues - think Cream, and Master of Reality era Black Sabbath - both relevant examples, given that Trouble covered the formers Tales of Brave Ulysses on a early single, and frequently covered the latter's Children of the grave live.

Trouble released three albums on Metal Blade. Their first two albums, the self titled debut (now referred to as Psalm 9) and The Skull, are superb, singlehandedly starting the doom metal sub-genre. Their third album, Run to the Light, was a lackluster affair, and it looked like the bands was in danger of being made redundant by the hip and happening new sounds of the hair and thrash metal hordes. But they were rejuvenated by a white knight - Rick Rubin, who signed the band to his new label, Def American. The band then recorded their second self titled LP, and subject of this post, with Rubin at the helm. And as he did on Slayer's meisterwerk Reign in Blood, Rubin raised the bands sound to a new level of clarity without sacrificing any of the depth, power or soul.

Opener At the End of My Daze is a mid-tempo shuffle with a chugging riff and great dual lead guitar break. The Wolf starts with more great dual lead guitar, before metamorphosing into a fast tempo rocker. Psychotic Reaction and A Sinner's Fame revolves around infectious guitar riffs that swings like hell. The Misery Shows (Act II) is the token heavy metal power-ballad, except better than most, with a great psychedelic feel. R.I.P. starts of at funeral pace before metamorphosing into a faster tempo track with some tasteful lead guitar breaks. Heaven on My Mind and E.N.D are mid-tempo chuggers. All is Forgiven starts off at a fast pace, with a change to a slower tempo after two minutes, leading into an excellent extended dual lead guitar break that provides a fitting end to this excellent album.

Trouble - 1990 - Self titled

1. At the End of My Daze
2. The Wolf
3. Psychotic Reaction
4. A Sinner's Fame
5. The Misery Shows (Act II)
6. R.I.P.
7. Black Shapes of Doom
8. Heaven on My Mind
9. E.N.D
10. All is Forgiven

FLAC Pt1, Pt2, Pt3

Friday, May 20, 2011

Seam - Headsparks

Seam were a three piece-band slacker-pop/alternative band led by former Bitch Magnet frontman Sooyoung Park.

Seam recorded four albums between 1991 and 1999, including their debut album and subject of this post, Headsparks. This album featured original drummer Mac McCaughan, who was a fully paid up member until his departure due to the increasing demands of his "day job" as Superchunk vocalist/guitarist.

The Bitch Magnet and Superchunk references are somewhat misleading, and do not accurately reflect the Seam sound, which ranged from atmospheric guitar washes with subdued melodic vocals reminiscent of Built to Spill and Sebadoh, as illustrated by Decatur, Feather, Granny 9x, to more straightforward driving punk-lite such as Grain, Pins and Needles and Shame, the latter featuring Velocity Girl front-woman Sarah Shannon. 

Seam - 1992 - Headsparks

1. Decatur
2. Sky City
3. Grain
4. Pins and Needles
5. Feather
6. Atari
7. King Rice
8. New Year's
9. Shame
10. Granny 9x

FLAC Pt1, Pt2, Pt3

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Grant Lee Buffalo - Jubilee

This blog has been on air for four months. And I'm ashamed/embarrassed/appalled that it's taken this long to include a post featuring the talents of the mighty Grant Lee Phillips. The tag of genius is bandied around too often these days, but it's a tag that fits well upon Phillips' head.

Phillips' now sadly defunct band, Grant Lee Buffalo, occupied a similar folk/country/rock territory to Wilco. But apart from the obvious similarity that both bands were/are led by vocalists/guitarists/songwriters, there are three areas where I feel GLB come out on top. First, Phillips is a better vocalist that Jeff Tweedy, with a voice capable of ranging from rough and guttural to soulful falsetto. Second, GLB had a greater musical range, taking in pop, soul, and jazz. Last, GLB were not afraid to rock out!

GLB released four albums in their lifetime. The first two albums, Fuzzy and Mighty Joe Moon are both awesome, with numerous high points (Jupiter And Teardrop, Stars 'N' Stripes, Dixie Drug Store, Mockingbirds, Mighty Joe Moon, etc...). However, the third album, Copperopolis, is a lackluster affair - but it's hard to put a finger on the problem.

The fourth album, and subject of this here post, Jubilee, was a huge return to form. Although the high points are probably not as high as those from Fuzzy and Mighty Joe Moon, Jubilee is a stronger and more consistent album overall, with 14 uniformly strong songs. Further, Jubilee has much more varied instrumentation than the early albums, and has a fuller production with much greater depth - it was the first album produced by an outside producer, after the departure of bassist Paul Kimble who produced the first three albums

The album kicks off with the rocking APB (i.e. all points bulletin), featuring some great falsetto vocals in the chorus (man, those falsetto vocals really do it for me!). Second track Seconds (geddit?!) is a lighter affair, featuring acoustic guitar, subtle drumming and more great falsetto vocals, with a chorus revolving an irresistible bass hook. Change your tune is classic pop rock, and just so damn perfect it sends shivers down my spine just thinking (or writing) about it.

Testimony and Truly Truly both use the old quiet-loud-quiet dynamics mandatory for any self respecting Nirvana-influenced 90s band. The former revolves around a gret bass hook in the verses. The latter features acoustic guitar in verses, with the beat unexpectedly dropping out immediately before the chorus. Superslomotion is mid tempo and more subdued, slowly building into a chorus featuring synth and arpeggio guitar and those glorious falsetto vocals. Fine how'd ya do uses the quiet-loud-quiet dynamics, starting with a marching band beat and vocals sung over pump organ, slowly winding up the tension before an impressively clunky guitar solo.  

The next three tracks all have a country feel. Come to mama, she say features acoustic guitar, subtle percussion, and slide guitar. Eight mile road features organ, pedal steel in the chorus, with quiet-loud-quiet dynamics, while Everybody needs a little sanctuary features banjo.

Crooked Dice rocks with an infectious groove. Jubilee is a rock/big band hybrid, with great Brian May approved double tracked lead guitar, and lots of falsetto la la las. The Shallow End provides a subtle and atmospheric end to the album, based around acoustic guitar, glockenspiel and theremin.

Grant Lee Buffalo - 1998 - Jubilee

1. APB
2. Seconds
3. Change your tune
4. Testimony
5. Truly Truly
6. Superslomotion
7. Fine how'd ya do
8. Come to mama, she say
9. 8 mile road
10. Everybody needs a little sanctuary
11. My My My
12. Crooked Dice
13. Jubilee
14. The Shallow End

FLAC Pt1, Pt2, Pt3, Pt4, Pt5

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mercury Rev - See you on the other side

Deserter's Songs is quite rightly seen as Mercury Rev's masterpiece, and would easily rank in my top 10 albums of all time - not that I'm quite obsessive enough to have sat down and written that list! Just look at the track list: Holes, Opus 40, Goddess on a Hiway, Funny Bird - motherfucking classics all!

But the groundwork for Deserter's Songs was laid by the previous album, and subject of this here post......

See you on the other side is a wilder, more ramshackle and less focused affair than Deserter's Songs - and that ain't a bad thing! It marked two possibly related important milestones for the band: the transition from noisy guitar pop to a more organic natural sound using acoustic instruments, and the departure of occasional vocalist David Baker. Both of these milestones could have spelled disaster for the band. Although I was never a fan of Baker's vocals (and I'm using that word loosely!), he was a mesmeric live presence, and provided a sense of unpredictability and X-factor that many artists aim for....and fail to achieve. And the music was different enough to potentially alienate previous fans.

And somewhat inevitably, the album did spell disaster for the band:  it was a commercial failure, and the band split up....only for Rev mainstays Jonathan Donahue and Grasshopper to regroup two years later and record the album they always wanted to make....and the rest is history.

So what does See you on the other side have to offer? Opener Empire State bides it's time for four minutes, with a Waiting for the man feel led by piano, guitar and flute, before exploding into a psychedelic freakout featuring a crazy assed sax solo. Magnificent! Young Man's Stride is a straightforward Clouds Taste Metallic-era Flaming Lips-like rocker - an unsurprising influence given Donahue's tenure in that band.

Sudden Ray Of Hope is a psychedelic/cocktail bar jazz/big band hybrid carried along by flute, with another great sax solo. Everlasting Arm is subdued and melodic, featuring along by piano, sax, and whistling(!), with a meandering instrumental ending. It is perhaps the closest song musically to Deserter's Songs.

Racing The Tide is a psychedelic/sixties power ballad hybrid, with a big chorus. In the blink of an eyelid transforms into a disco freakout reminiscent of Screamadelica-era Primal Scream) complete with wailing female vocals straight from Pink Floyd's The Great Gig In the Sky, complete with bizarre exhortations to "keep it going my friends! Plenty of tape!" made in a fake Indian accent. And if that ain't weird enough, closer Peaceful Night takes the cake - psychedelic blues, complete with organ, sax and clarinet!

Mercury Rev - 1995 - See you on the other side

1. Empire State (Son House In Excelsis)
2. Young Man's Stride
3. Sudden Ray Of Hope
4. Everlasting Arm
5. Racing The Tide
6. Close Encounters Of The 3rd Grade
7. Kiss From An Old Flame 
8. Peaceful Night
FLAC Pt1, Pt2, Pt3

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Various Artists - Alternative NRG

Another quick post.....

Unlike some of the other compilations I've posted, I can't say I love this album, but I love the concept - all tracks were recorded live using a solar-powered mobile facility.

Highlights include REM's legendary funk version of Drive, Soundgarden performing the awesome and malevolent New Damage with Brian May, and JC by Sonic Youth.

Also good to see two Aussie bands featured - Yothu Yindi and "The Oils"!

Various Artists - 1994 - Alternative NRG

1. Drive - R.E.M.
2. Ring The Bells - James
3. Until The End Of The World - U2
4. Tell Me The Truth - Midnight Oil
5. Everyday Life Has Become A Health Risk - Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy
6. New Damage - Soundgarden / Brian May
7. New Kind Of Kick - The Jesus And Mary Chain
8. Sing Our Own Song - UB40
9. Cold - Annie Lennox
10. Looking Through Patient Eyes - P.M. Dawn
11. Sweetmeat - Soup Dragons
12. Search And Destroy - EMF
13. Yolngu Boy - Yothu Yindi
14. JC - Sonic Youth
15. Fam Ram - Boo-Yaa Tribe
16. Shitlist - L7

FLAC Pt1, Pt2, Pt3, Pt4, Pt5

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Buck Pets - Self titled

A bit pressed for time at present, so a quick post for today.

The Buck Pets are best described as a college/alternative/punk/classic rock hybrid. They released two very good albums on Island Records, including their debut album, featured here. The highlights of this album are the melodic pop of A Little Murder and Song for Louise Post (apparently written for the Veruca Salt front-woman!), bizarrely tucked away near/at the end of side 2 of the vinyl LP.

The Buck Pets - 1989 - Self titled

1 Iron Cock
2 How Delicious She Looks
3 Good Day
4 Inamorata
5 Hammer Valentine
6 More and More
7 Perfect
8 A Little Murder
9 Lost
10 Song for Louise Post
11 The Bad Sleep Good

FLAC Pt1, Pt2, Pt3