Ode To Vinyl

This collection of vinyl-related movie clips was put together by a chap by the name of Mennomail and is beautifully done, I must admit there were a couple of times when I found it quite moving. You couldn’t make something as lovely as this about mp3s could you?

Apparently there are 16 different films in this but I only recognize seven of them — Ghost World, The Shawshank Redemption, Billy Elliot, High Fidelity, (500) Days of Summer, Crumb, and Poltergeist. Can you do any better?


Eskimos and Geordies

I’ve recently discovered the Roxy Music live bootleg “City Hall, Newcastle 1974” which is an absolute corker, parts of it ended up in slightly more polished form on their official live album “Viva!” two years later but overall this is a much better set.

Listening to early Roxy live performances it always strikes me how a group of (mostly) art school boys whose music relied so heavily on arty effects and highbrow concepts like post-modern artifice (and had a lead singer who wore a tuxedo!) could also rock out like a turbo-charged rocket hurtling towards a crash landing on Mars. Most “art-rock” bands leaned too heavily on the former but Roxy managed to find the perfect balance between the two, they made music you could write an essay about and jump up and down to. They don’t just raise the roof with these they burn down the whole damn building.

Download: Virginia Plain (live) – Roxy Music (mp3)
Download: Do The Strand (live) – Roxy Music (mp3)
Download: Editions Of You (live) – Roxy Music (mp3)

Alone With Francoise

The muse having deserted me for the moment (the bitch, probably lolling on a beach somewhere) I’m taking a cue from Davy and featuring some Francoise Hardy from her 1970 album “Alone” which is really just an excuse for me to post a picture of the wonderful sleeve. Isn’t that gorgeous? Speaking as a designer the best thing to do when you have a photo as great as that is just get out the way and let it shine without any typographic or designer frippery which is just what this does. I would sell my left nut for a copy of it on vinyl but can’t find one anywhere.

Francoise sings in English on “Alone” which doesn’t quite have the same, um, je ne sais quoi as her French recordings but it’s still awfully pretty. Doesn’t sound 40 years old either.

Download: Strange Shadows – Francoise Hardy (mp3)

“New” Monday

Being old enough to remember the 80s the first time around (and — gulp — most of the 70s too) I’m highly dubious about the sounds and styles of that decade being recycled. Having a bunch of young trendies breaking into the house of your youth and ransacking the place makes you want to give them all a good clip ’round the ear, then tell them to bugger off and get their own bloody music. Yes, I am going to read Retromania very soon.

But I do love Ladytron, probably because they do the decadent, We-Are-The-Robots-with-eyeliner thing so much better than anyone else and were doing it before it was hip so it seems like genuine love and not just jumping on the next cool thing. Their debut album “604” is one of my favourites of the past decade and their new single “White Elephant” sounds like a step back to the sound of that record which is fine with me. The video looks like they’ve been watching “Vienna” a lot too.

My Mother’s Records

There was a time when a person could look at a picture of some hunky, naked men having a bath together and think it was nothing more than sporty boys having good, clean, healthy, heterosexual fun, and that after the communal bath they’d all head down the pub for a skinful and a fight, then end the evening shagging some bird in a very manly way. Now, of course, it looks like the gayest record sleeve ever, queerer than a nine-bob note, camper than a row of tents, and a masterpiece of homo kitsch. We’re all so damn “knowing” these days, aren’t we?

I really have no idea why my mother owned this record and how it ended up sitting in our sideboard throughout my childhood. Like most Brits she liked bawdy humour and there was a whole series of Rugby Songs albums released in the 60s so they must have been fairly popular, but I can only assume — and hope — that someone bought it for her as a joke. I certainly hope she didn’t buy it herself because she liked the picture on the cover, I’d rather not think about that too much.

Despite the saucy sleeve the record itself isn’t actually that rude (by modern standards anyway) because all the naughty words are bleeped out so it’s more nudge nudge wink wink than truly filthy. While I don’t remember my mother ever playing it I used to play it a lot trying to work out what words those bleeps were hiding. I imagine they had to be very bad to be censored like that and figuring them out was like unlocking another door into the world of grown-ups. Some tracks were rendered almost unlistenable by the constant bleeps but my favourite song “Balls To Your Partner” was easier to work out:

Singing balls to your partner, bleep against the wall,
If you’ve never been bleep on a Saturday night, you’ll never get bleep at all.

Though I was still of an age when I was learning swear words from the older kids in the playground I knew enough to reckon that the first bleep was “arse” (I had no idea what “arse against the wall” meant though), and the second had to be “shagged”. Thanks to the magic of the internets I now know that “Balls To Your Partner” is based on an Irish folk song called “The Ball of Kerrymuir” but I can’t say for sure what those bleeps are as there appear to be several different versions of it. Oh well, guess I can just use my imagination the way I did back then, or maybe in these more liberal times someone will release an un-bleeped version of the album.

Download: Balls To Your Partner- The Jock Strapp Ensemble (mp3)
Download: It Was On The Good Ship Venus – The Jock Strapp Ensemble (mp3)
Download: John Peel- The Jock Strapp Ensemble (mp3)

(Yes, there’s a song called “John Peel” and they’re all performed by a group called The Jock Strapp Ensemble)