Monday, October 24, 2011

The first night of the fair...

Of course, everyone has their favourite...

Today is the release date of the definitive collection of the recordings of The Smiths - from Rhino records.

Rhino make a more than compelling case for the swift purchase of this colossal box-set; undoubtedly it will be a huge success, will quickly sell-out, leaving hundreds of Smiths' completists crying into their luke-warm milk - no doubt allowing some unwell meaning, enterprising young capitalists the opportunity to extort these devotees with alarming alacrity...

Never mind.

The music is all that should ever matter, the format not.

I remember, when I was a clear broth of a boy, poorly limbed, eccentrically excessive - a box-bedroom rebel (Copyright, The South bank Show/Ray Galton and Alan Simpson). The Smiths very quickly became all the music I ever wanted/needed to have.

Here was a big galoot, with flowers in his hands and up his arse, surrounded by more vaguely dangerous boys from the South. I loved them - it was my music, nobody elses, written for me and only for me; I digested it with unreluctant abandon, wiggling my own culpable arse.

It will be John Peel's anniversary tomorrow. Without him, we would probably never have heard The Smiths or the legions of other bands his shows championed. I heard them on his show, head tucked dutifully under the blankets, breathlessly waiting to hear the next wondrous track from these most 'handsome,' of devils.

Thanks John and thanks to The Smiths.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Let's Get Lost...

This year has been something of a red letter one for fans of Emeralds' near the front man Mark McGuire.

Following on from last year's marvellous 'Does it look like I'm here;' which fans of this site will know was nominated for a Hairy, Mark McGuire's new record is a thing of shabbily glittering beauty - part Frippertronics, part dirty Durutti Column - drone with amplesome attitude.

This attitude conveys itself perfectly in the music, and in its darkly twisted inherent beauty.

Available now from the wonderful Editions Mego label.

'Get Lost'
'A Young Person's Guide'

Monday, October 3, 2011

Rock Hard...

Def Jam has been the defining record label in Hip hop music for over 27 years.

Much has happened in that time - including, as early as 1988, the departure of co-founder Rick Rubin to set up Def American leaving Run DMC impresario, Lyor Cohen in charge.

The label is synonyomous with many of the great names in rap music. Everyone will have their own favourites - whether dancing to LL Cool J, marvelling at the lipchronicity of Beastie Boys or being moved to anger or action by the turntabling terrorism of the, then, nascent Public Enemy.

The definitive history of Def Jam is packed with anecdotes and recollections from the main players in the story of a record label that, quite literally, from LL to Jay-Z, revolutionised our musical listening...

This blog entry has chosen to focus on the early years of Def Jam. This is not to
detract from the work that followed - marvellous, genre-defying and creating
records from artists as diverse as Redman, Method Man, Warren G, Jay-Z, Rihanna and....

Return to server...

Marcus Gray has been writing about The Clash for an awful long time - since 1997 in fact, when the publication of his seminal, 'Last gang in town,' recalibrated the myth and the method for a newer, less tousled generation.

In 'Route 19 Revisited: The Clash and London Calling' Gray has revised the 2009 version of his book, further contextualising, for today's stridently, politically apathetic ageneration, the importance of music and art in changing our inner and outer lives.

Opinionated, political, polemical - much like the record it so unequivocally champions, Gray's book is a marvellous read for fans of music and its heralded abilities to inspire and uplift.